Love It Or Leave It? Review
January 14, 2019
Based on a book of the same name by Justin Cronin (the first in a trilogy), The Passage premieres tonight on Fox (9/8c). What a shot in the arm this show is on for network television. Exactly what we need in terms of innovation, character creation, story and production value.
From writer (and showrunner), Liz Heldens, and an executive producer team that includes Ridley Scott, The Passage stars Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Saniyya Sidney, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Vincent Piazza, Brianne Howey, Caroline Chikezie, Henry Ian Cusick, Jamie McShane, and McKinley Belcher III.
Read on for a spoiler free synopsis of the show and whether we … Love It Or Leave It?
“The Passage focuses on Project NOAH, a secret medical facility where scientists are experimenting with a dangerous virus that could lead to the cure for all disease, but also carries the potential to wipe out the human race. When a young girl, Amy Bellafonte (Sidney), is chosen to be a test subject, Federal Agent Brad Wolgast (Gosselaar) is the man who is tasked with bringing her to Project NOAH. Ultimately, however, Wolgast becomes her surrogate father, trying to protect her at any cost.
“Brad and Amy’s journey will force them to confront Project NOAH’s lead scientists, Major Nichole Sykes (Chikezie) and Dr. Jonas Lear (Cusick), as well as the hardened former Navy Operative Clark Richards (Piazza), whom Brad trained. It likewise brings them face-to-face with a dangerous new race of beings confined within the walls of Project NOAH, including former scientist Tim Fanning (McShane) and death-row inmates Shauna Babcock (Howey) and Anthony Carter (Belcher III). In seeking out any allies he can find, Brad also turns to his former wife, Dr. Lila Kyle (Chriqui), for help.
“But as Project NOAH’s scientists home in on a cure that could save humanity, these new beings begin to test their own powers, inching one step closer to an escape that could lead to an unimaginable apocalypse.”
Without a doubt, The Passage is a genre show. And fans of vampire and sci-fi horror are going to LOVE what The Passage is throwing down. Fox has put a ton of money into the movie-like production values of this show. You can see the money well spent in the quality of special and practical effects and action sequences. But, it’s also so much more than a genre show. As Project NOAH creates vampire-like monsters, “Virals” in the show’s parlance, the dangers of modern Frankenstein-like monsters being set loose on the world looms large. And, while you may come for that aspect – science gone awry, you’re going to want to stay because of the well drawn characters and their stories (and back stories).
The Pilot of The Passage (we’ll publish our typical, spoiler-rich recap of the Pilot after it airs) does the heavy lifting that all pilots need to do. It introduces us to the main characters and sets out the premise of the story and conflict to come. But, its the father-daughter relationship and natural chemistry between Brad and Amy that really made me love this show from jump. Gosselaar, a father himself in real life, and Sidney, a tremendous young actress, go from wary strangers to bonded family of two over the course of the first hour BUT their performances never feel forced or rushed.
To the contrary, Sidney, a smart mouthed orphan, is understandably wary of Brad and his partner, Clark Richards, when they come to take her away. It’s only when Brad does some soul searching does he begin to win her trust. Their story is going to be the main thrust of the show and I.Am.Here.For.It!
From interviews with the cast and crew at New York Comic Con (click here for the archives), we know that The Passage will utilize flashbacks to fill in the stories of the cast and I cannot wait to learn about how these people came to this place. The mysterious viral, Shauna, in particular, seems to have a back story we want to know about. How she came to be in Project NOAH as well as her prior relationship with Clark promises to be full of juicy intrigue.
Love It Or Leave It? The Passage is a definite LOVE IT! The great relationships supported by well written characters and solid acting makes this the kind of genre’d drama that I really like to dig into. It’s going to be the kind of show that demands its viewers pay attention but rewards them with lots of details and deep mythology and stories. The high production values move-like quality of the effects and action are icing on the cake for this new series.