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October 25, 2014

Threshold: Blood of the Children

by Bob Sassone, posted Sep 24th 2005 12:06AM

Charles S. DuttonI'll admit something right off the bat. I was all prepared to hate the second episode of this series, because while I enjoyed the first episode, I got that "feeling" that it was going to go downhill quickly and get repetitive and boring, and would die a slow death in the sci-fi/horror graveyard known as Friday night. But about halfway through tonight's episode, I said to myself, "hey, this is fun."

Tonight's episode: the team views security camera footage of a man going crazy in a fast food restaurant (I guess they wouldn't let him "have it his way"). One guy is mangled and killed (some cool, gory makeup), and several are injured. Seems the killer was a janitor at a local military academy, so the team goes there and starts to interview and take blood samples from the cadets. The lead cadet (doing an uncanny impersonation of Kiefer Sutherland from A Few Good Men) seems to help the team, but he's actually a bad guy, and he tries to kill Ramsay (Carla Gugino) with the help of some of the other cadets.

The plot? The aliens want to send that damn spiral signal through an e-mail and infect 33% of the population (an opportunity for Gugino to say a funny line about getting her stats from the distribution of the Paris Hilton sex tape). Yeah, I think this has been done on some other show, but it's still a very clever, very "now" plot device. One of the cadets even mentions that he thought the spiral signal was "spyware," and I could feel many friends and family members cringing, their hard drives screwed up by that very word. (Of course, it's Friday night, so I don't know how many of my friends and family are watching, but I digress...)

This is sci-fi escapism at it's most raw. You really have to believe that this group of scientists were brought together to battle the aliens. You really have to believe some of the over the top dialogue Charles S. Dutton has to spout. It's kinda silly, but good silly, not Cleopatra 2525 silly.

There's no doubt that Gugino and company will stop the evil cadet from spreading the e-mail, but it's how it happens that's fun. There are some genuinely exciting jolts (when Gugino is being chased in the library), and the bad kids might not be acting the way they're acting for the reasons you think they might be. This e-mailing a virus plot also opens the door to many intriguing plot possibilites, and it will be cool to see what happens.  

There's nothing outrageously great about Threshold. It's not genre-defining like Star Trek or a cult phenomenon like The X-Files. But it's entertaining. It's a lot like The Invaders, only instead of lone architect Roy Thinnes trying to convince everyone that aliens are taking over people's bodies we get a team of scientists and military men. If you're expecting anything else, you'll probably hate it. If you go along for the ride, it's a cool way to kill an hour. 

But you know what these aliens need if they really want to take over the world? A blog.

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Siraris

I agree with Alberto here... I missed the Pilot, but read up on what it was about, and decided to see for myself. This show really dissapointed on every level. I loved Brent Spiner as Data, and think he's totally underrated as an actor. Too bad his talents didn't carry over to this show. I like the mathemetician, but the show could do without everyone else. The plot was confusing, bouncing from one small group of people to another. I didn't get the need for the unbelievably long bouts of dialogue between characters, that had no relevance whatsoever to the plot. All the actors seemed like this was their first job, except for the mathemetician, I think he was great. I didn't get the scene where Charles Dutton comes in and talks about interrogating the pilot, and then the mathemtician asks why he wasn't asked to come, he is a linguist, (why would you need a linguist to interrogate someone?), and then he claims to be able to pinpoint him being from some town in OHIO? My jaw dropped there. I mean there's using cool scientific stuff in a show, but that was ridiculous. Charles Dutton seemed extremely strained, almost overboard in his acting like a hardass. The entire debacle at the school reminded me of a really cheesy 80's zombie film for some reason. The kids are all campy, and whats with the dean? I'm not going to go into all the little details, but I'm really dissapointed in these new shows. I haven't seen Surface yet, but really after the Alias premier, Lost and Battle Star Galactica are the only shows that I have enjoyed so far.

September 30 2005 at 3:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Alberto

I'm sorry to be the the odd opinion here, but I think Threshold is the worst of the three (Surface being the best one so far, and Invasion having the most potential given the creative team behind it). This show has popcorn movie written all over it. After seeing the first two episodes I can't help but feel that way. The characters are over the top, the production value is not very good, and the story line seems too simple right now. I'll keep watching for while, but in terms of quality the other two shows are miles away.

September 26 2005 at 11:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
gadlaw

Of the three alien invasion shows starting, Threshold, Surface and Invasion, Threshold seems the best so far and Invasion seems the weakest of the crop. All three have those unbelievable silly plots but I guess for me it's a matter of how they take a silly plot and make it less silly. I've already suspended my disbelief enough to try to watch the show so all I ask is that the show works with me. Threshold had a great two hour start. Great to see Brent Spiner, great to see the Klingon quip early on as a wink to the fans and great to see something that entertained me. When the second episode started I began to wonder how they were going to keep the story line up. I've seen this story done in two hours before after all. I don't know if I have as much faith as Bob does in the continued health of this show but it's been fun so far and hopefully it will keep it up. As for Invasion - oh don't get me started on that one. Little girls running into storms, mothers being sent down the road through a hurricane. Bad, bad writers. :-)

September 24 2005 at 2:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
CRF

I missed the first part of this episode. Can someone explain that part real quick? I thought the premiere ended with the team surrounded by gobs of zombie-like people and then I picked up this episode during the dream sequence. WTF happened?

September 24 2005 at 10:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
fxhl

Technically it is the third episode. The premiere was the first two episodes shown in sequence.

September 24 2005 at 10:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bob Sassone

This is the second episode. The first was a 2 hr ep.

September 24 2005 at 9:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
amber

Well finally there is something I can watch on the telly!!

September 24 2005 at 6:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
vince

I'm not sure if I'm getting this right..you're referring to this episode as the second one? because it's the third one...

September 24 2005 at 4:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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