TV Review: ‘Extant,’ Season 2

Extant TV Review CBS
Courtesy of CBS

Extant” started with high hopes in outer space, before reentering the Earth’s atmosphere and, creatively speaking, gradually crashing and burning. Still, CBS had a sci-fi drama starring Halle Berry and a nifty Amazon deal to help defray the cost, which likely explains the second-season attempt to continue the project while undertaking a pretty dramatic makeover. As a result, much of the show has been jettisoned, leaving behind the bones of the original, while introducing Jeffrey Dean Morgan as a surly cop/bounty hunter who grudgingly gets involved. It’s a courageous effort, but still looks like a failure to launch.

Without giving too much away, the new season picks up six months after the first, when Berry’s Molly Woods discovered that the inexplicable pregnancy she experienced while on a space mission left her carrying an alien-human hybrid, one with strange powers and nefarious if ill-defined objectives. Back at home, she has managed to fake her way through congressional hearings, and her husband (Goran Visnjic) has even rebuilt their android son (Pierce Gagnon), who sacrificed himself to save mom in the first go-round.

Still, Molly’s problems are just beginning, with a major personal loss and an attempt to confine her, presumably to keep her quiet. Although she’s been told her space baby perished, there’s also evidence that suggests he not only might be ambulatory, but deadly — and aging rapidly, leaving the threat posed to humankind very much alive.

That inadvertently puts Molly in contact with Morgan’s JD Richter, a mid-20th-century-style private eye in a modern package, who initially thinks she’s more loony than moony. Bringing the two together and setting them on the run doesn’t just give the show a more CBS-friendly formula, it should introduce more action to a series that, its frequent flashbacks notwithstanding, at times felt static and lab-bound.

It would be better if the new elements were more exciting than they feel here, but it’s hard to recover from a show that underwent as many odd contortions as “Extant” did in its maiden voyage. That Berry manages to escape with her dignity intact despite how thinly written her character continues to be and the absurdity of the situations she must face is a testament to the actress’s abilities.

“Extant” was introduced alongside “Under the Dome,” another sci-fi-tinged concept that took off with promise and subsequently under-delivered. It’s possible the Berry-Morgan pairing will produce the right DNA to justify CBS’ decision to give this show about possible human extinction a second shot at life, but based on the available evidence, these recombinations might have birthed a different sort of series, but not a measurably improved one.

TV Review: 'Extant,' Season 2

(Series; CBS, Wed. July 1, 10 p.m.)

Production

Filmed in Los Angeles by Amblin Television in association with CBS Television Studios.

Crew

Executive producers, Steven Spielberg, Liz Kruger, Craig Shapiro, Mickey Fisher, Justin Falvey, Darryl Frank, Halle Berry, Brooklyn Weaver; director, Dan Lerner; writers, Kruger, Shapiro. 60 MIN.

Cast

Halle Berry, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Pierce Gagnon, Grace Gummer, Goran Visnjic, Tyler Hilton

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  1. I am of the opinion that this review is totally unfair to the Show and its cast members. I have enjoyed the 2nd season as much as the first.

  2. tony says:

    I hope the show returns.

  3. As an African-American Halle Berry looks weird in Extant as a Black woman with White hair. (I guess they tried to appeal to Blacks and Whites.) Black people prefer to see Halle Berry in the short pixie. That’s what made her famous with Black people, so I’m not surprised that Extant hasn’t done well.

  4. Johnny says:

    So many drastic and straight out cold changes have made Extant Season 2 a totally different show…not necessary bad, but to those people (like me) that loved the first season would feel totally cheated because of its initial narrative, a family struggle between the decisions taken in letting themselves be part of the marvels that technology have brought to their lives (Ethan) vs. the consequences of dealing with the unknown.

    That family part has been scratched off completely, and the show can no longer deliver on that promise. If the producers needed to shake things they should have ended Extant with a 2 hour Series Finally and spinned off under a different name taking place years later.

    This is not the first time we see a CBS TV show taking drastic changes for the worse season after season….Just look at what happened to Under the Dome.

  5. Nick says:

    I find the second series to be a HUGE improvement over the first, which for me was a real chore to stick with to the end. I was so stunned when it was renewed for a second and very nearly didn’t bother tuning in for it.

    I’m glad I did. It’s not my favourite show but it’s good television now and I do look forward to each new episode. I don’t know what changed behind the scenes but the writing seems much more mature this season.

    • Linda says:

      Just the opposite for me. I stop watching cause it was drawn out with no with a storyline that serve no meaning. So I decided to catch up, just in case it got better. Bad choice, the carnival, really!

  6. Charly says:

    I love extant, not just Halle, but all of the characters. I’m not sure about Julie. Introducing a mutiny with the hybrids is great, I hope this will take the show to new levels of an invasion. Please keep the show!

  7. samantha says:

    Halle Berry is the reason i don’t watch,she has always been just eye candy, her acting is always like she is thinking about how she looks,has never made me think”wow i want to see that Halle Berry is starring in it:(

  8. Dwayne says:

    I like the show especially since my grand son’s had a part in season 2 episode 1.the baby crying in the baby bed.

  9. P says:

    Did I say I can’t stand julie? If not, I can’t stand julie conniving ways.

  10. P says:

    I love extant I hope it’s not cancelled. I wish Goran visnic wasn’t killed off. I so wish Julie was removed cuz she’s selfish & only concerned with self gain, John in her bed & throwing molly out of her own marriage as if she had the right & thinks who she is. I do like the addition of Jeffrey Dean Morgan and as much as I’ve always liked Hilary Burton I don’t know if I like her in this show being a villain. But I do I hope Extant stays and I do hope Halle Berry remains as the lead character. I of course love Ethan & hope if the show stays he’s not replaced.. I’m not too sure about all these other humanics except Ethan naturally. Im on the fence about lucy. Shes too angry. And I do hope you keep spider the little robot that Ethan made because spiders just festive. Anyway keep extant its a good show and I’m so tired of good shows getting cancelled all the time. Its very disheartening.

  11. Steve Andrews says:

    I am trying hard to like this series but it is just painful to watch. They just don’t seem to know where the centre of the story is and because of that the writing is abysmal (sorry to the people who like it). Halle Berry just is not convincing in the part and she’s not alone, but the contrived way she manages to do just what she wants or – avoids disaster/death/or God knows what, in order to have her Hero of the moment is just too flimsy a premise on which to build a series. Note to the writers: Choose your ‘Story’ better, choose the arc of the series so it meets the episodes, or just bring it to a conclusion and end it! If you don’t know how to do that – go watch Babylon 5

  12. Madelynn says:

    I love love love every episode!! Best sci-fi series I’ve enjoyed. Halle Berry is amazing. Screw the haters, we don’t need that kind of negativity! :)

    • Susan says:

      When you have lines like “this was supposed to be a pit stop not a parking lot” and “In another life Molly Woods, in another life” it tends to make you wonder what the writers were thinking and how an actor could acquiesce to saying them. I find the production values cheap, with the exceptions of J.D.’s place (I would be right at home there) and Molly’s. I just don’t really understand the whole show.

  13. Fran says:

    OMG! I can’t believe this! This is one of the best series I’ve watched in a very long time. I am kept on the edge of my seat throughout the entire episode. I’m so disappointed when the hour is up. I’m assuming those like this writer are too literal and can’t allow fiction to be just that, fiction.

  14. james says:

    Halle Berry is miscast in this TV series.
    Angela Bassett would be more convincing for the part.

  15. Bill B. says:

    Go away, please. Her acting is to painful to watch.My God people in that town must be crazy. They give away and waste money. She is the worst.

  16. David says:

    This show as originally written was fantastic but the geniuses at CBS turned it into chase-of-the-week dreck. I bet Mickey Fisher is wishing he had taken those movie offers. True, the film studios would have made some changes but they wouldn’t have f(u)cked it up more than CBS did, I doubt that’s even possible.

  17. Joy Karen says:

    WHO is watching this show?

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