While I found Under the Dome to be one of the worst first seasons of any TV show since (insert Jim Belushi’s TV career), I’m willing to grant CBS an olive branch. I sincerely hope that they can spin gold out of their upcoming high-concept sci-fi drama Extant. I don’t have a lot of faith, since the majority of their more successful programs are aimed at audiences who were born around the time the network began, but the show has built a solid cast around star Halle Berry. The two most recent additions are Yugoslavian actor Goran Visnjic and television veteran Michael O’Neill, neither one is a spring chicken.
CBS let the ca(s)t out of the bag on their Twitter page. Of course, in 140 characters there wasn’t enough room to drop further details about the show or plot. They did state that Visnjic will play John, the husband of Berry’s astronaut Molly Watts. This is one of the reasons why I hate Twitter as a “news source.” Luckily, Entertainment Weekly gave a brief description of O’Neill’s character, which I’ll work into the synopsis below.
Extant centers on Molly’s attempts to reconnect with her family after she spends a year in space. It’s a difficult path to traverse. Her husband is a gifted scientist who had a little more to do with the creation of their son Ethan than just sperm donation. Because Molly is infertile, John developed Ethan as a prototype humanoid robot. I’m sure that can’t be comfortable for everyone. Meanwhile, Molly figures out that her time in space will have vast repercussions not only for the lives of those she loves, but for the future of all of mankind. O’Neill will play a former astronaut who is the current head of the private space program that Molly works with. I’m guessing she’ll look to him for sage advice on a regular basis.
Visnjic will be most recognizable to you for his 10-year stint as Dr. Luka on the medical drama ER. He’s had a long, strong career in television, most recently with the ABC drama Red Widow, and also appeared in Ridley Scott’s latest film The Counselor. O’Neill’s been in just about everything, often playing characters with official titles, such as Senator Foulkes on Sundance’s Rectify and Mayor Bennett on CBS’ now-defunct Vegas. You can find him in theaters now as the FDA agent making Matthew McConnaughey’s life and survival difficult in the critically acclaimed Dallas Buyers Club.
We’ll see if Extant lives up to its potential when the show debuts on Wednesday, July 2. Here are the previously released teasers to feast your eyeballs on. (They have eyeballs, too.)