After being burned by the melodramatic schlock that was Under the Dome, I’m reluctant to get excited about any more high-profile offerings from CBS, a network that I could do without completely except for football games. Only they paid big bucks in a bidding war over the sci-fi drama Extant, bypassing the pilot process and giving it a straight-to-series order. It involves Steven Spielberg. And it’s a storyline that I’m really interested in. And now Academy Award winner Halle Berry has signed on for the lead role. Taken together, this confirms that I’ll be watching Extant next year, regardless of my personal feelings for CBS.
The series and script were written by Mickey Fisher (Summer Nuts) and produced by Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment and the man himself seems to be happy about the decision. “There’s only one Halle Berry and we are incredibly honored that she has chosen ‘Extant’ to expand her illustrious career,” he said. “As she does with everything she touches, she will bring a deep authenticity to her role and I very much look forward to working with her.”
As you can imagine, Berry feels the same way. “I’m always on the lookout for amazing roles and when you see material that contains this strong of auspices, nuance and complexity it compels me to run toward it no matter the medium,” she shared. “For five months a year I’ll get to live with and play this incredibly intelligent and vulnerable woman, and for the remainder of the year I’ll continue to look for other roles that move me as deeply as this one.” Those are pretty strong words for this character. Let’s hope she’s even half as complex as she sounds.
In Extant, Berry will play an astronaut who was in space for a year long solo mission. Upon returning home to a husband and human-like android son, she finds that reconnecting with life is harder than she thought. And “her experiences in space and home lead to events that ultimately will change the course of human history.” Did she bring something back with her? Is her son an alien? I mean, how do you not get excited for a plotline like that?
With Berry involved, that makes the leading male and child roles all the more pivotal. CBS dramas are hit or miss when it comes to casting, and child actors are the most hit or miss thing that’s ever existed. So we’ll see.
Berry is quickly returning to sci-fi after starring in last year’s Cloud Atlas. She headlined this year’s enjoyable thriller The Call, will soon reprise her role of Storm in X-Men: Days of Future Past, and will appear in John Singleton’s crime drama Tulia. The 47-year-old actress hasn’t been a regular on television since co-starring with Leah Remini on the 1989 Who’s the Boss spinoff Living Dolls, though she had a recurring role in Knots Landing in 1991.
Do you think Berry can carry a series?