Thursday, October 5, 2017

Pilot Review: Extinct

Extinct (BYU TV)
Premiered October 1 at 9pm

There are so many networks on television these days – as well as those that don’t even air on television – and my fervent attempt to watch every new pilot has introduced me to some I didn’t even know existed. One such network is BYU TV, which is produced by Brigham Young University and has apparently been around since 2000. This is its second scripted series. What I knew going into it was that it was about aliens reviving the human race after its extinction four hundred years earlier, and I had a feeling that, because of its Mormon production, it wouldn’t feature anything too excessive in the way of violence, language, or sexuality. It’s an interesting idea, since some of the best science fiction on television and in film these days is full of those things, and for a show to be so pure and rooted in values is actually sort of unique. Now, this is hardly the best science fiction around, since it’s relatively simplistic and not all that earth-shattering. But the sense that everything these three revived humans know is long gone is definitely conveyed with empty backgrounds and minimal special effects mostly relegated to flying shapes and neck tattoos. The religiousness in these first two episodes wasn’t even that strong and was surprisingly well-incorporated into the plot, as Ezra’s daughter said that they should pray when her parents knew that it wouldn’t do all that much good. I expected that these two hours would feel endless and overdrawn, but this show isn’t all that bad.

How will it work as a series? There’s no settlement because everyone died, presumably because they couldn’t hack it against the neck parasites, and so the hope is that these three are finally the ones to help rebuild humanity. I’m not sure I see it being interesting for ten full episodes, but it could work.
How long will it last? The next six episodes are already available to stream online and will air each week until the two-hour finale in November. I have no idea what kind of ratings metrics BYU TV uses, but my prediction is that this show will be original – and palatable – enough to merit continuation as long as it isn’t too expensive to produce.

Pilot grade: B

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