I’m always looking for a good sci-fi show and there have been plenty of pretenders to the throne this year. Some have been good, some not so much. This time out I look at the first season of Salvation, a CBS drama that promised a lot of race-against-the-clock action. But did it deliver? Let’s take a look.
When it’s discovered that an extinction-level asteroid is heading toward Earth, super-scientist Darius Tanz joins up with the government to deflect the menace, or at the very least get some people to safety, but then it all goes wrong as Russia gets involved and the government gets overtaken from within.
Now this looked good going in, after all, it’s a disaster movie spread out over an entire season, but like all disaster TV shows, in fact, like in all McGuffin shows, once the McGuffin is found or destroyed or whatever, there’s no reason for the show to go on. I knew that was a serious problem going in, but the idea was interesting enough to give it a shot.
And it isn’t bad, at least the concept isn’t bad, but the execution, as with so many of these shows, is downright terrible. Because they have to keep getting close to solving the problem, but they can’t ever quite get there or the show ends. Or they can do what got done on The Last Ship and keep inventing new problems to handle every season, which is really no better.
The real issue here is that the near-misses have to get more and more silly as time goes on. You’ve got technological problems to saving the day. Solve them. Now Russia steals your solution. You have to go get it back. Then it gets hijacked by a super-secret terrorist organization. And of course, there’s drama, drama, drama everywhere! Who is sleeping with who? Who is lying to who? It gets a bit boring after a while and frankly, I just don’t care.
Because the real show isn’t about the potential disaster, that’s just set dressing. The real show is about how the people interact and their emotions and seriously, I’ve had more than enough of that. I don’t care who is screwing who. I don’t care whose feelings get hurt. I didn’t even care that there was a coup within the White House, although that was a little more interesting than the rest. I care how they get out of getting wiped out and, unfortunately, they didn’t even get to that this season.
I’d give this another year to get its act together, but based on the ratings, I very much doubt it will come back. And that’s kind of a shame because it had potential, it just squandered it by becoming a relationship drama more than a disaster show. Well, it tried, I guess. If it shows up again, I’ll see where it goes, but I’m not holding my breath and honestly, I can’t say I’ll be that sad if it goes crashing into the sun and dies.