Threshold: Blood of the Children
I'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.