Premiered on July 12, 2017 Rating:
When it is discovered that an enormous asteroid is just six months away from colliding with Earth, MIT grad student Liam Cole and tech billionaire Darius Tanz team up to save humanity from this impending apocalypse — without ever alerting the public. As part of the project, Darius recruits an aspiring sci-fi writer, Jillian, to work on a theoretical approach to saving humanity. While they try to save the world their way, the government has its own approach, with Deputy Secretary of Defense Harris Edwards spearheading the top-secret plan to deflect the asteroid.
When I saw the trailer for Salvation, I was excited. I thought, “Finally, they made Deep Impact into a TV show.” I loved Deep Impact, Armageddon and other movies that tackle one of the most terrifying possibilities (albeit unlikely) that there is. What if we’re just like the dinosaurs, and something is on the way to make us part of Earth’s next mass extinction event? It baffles me that I haven’t actually seen this premise on TV before, and thought it was about time… Unfortunately, Salvation doesn’t rise above the typical summer diversion.
I’m trying to think why Salvation isn’t better than it is, and I think there are two main issues. First, Salvation doesn’t have any investment in its characters. Compelling characters are cast aside and in the background, next to the epic “planet killer” of an asteroid. All right, they’re putting the story before the characters, but this is always wrong because the story is always the characters. They also have a lot of extra characters that serve no purpose, instead of digging deep into a small group of people we’re getting the surface of nearly a dozen people. Nope, nope and nope.
Next is that this show is nearly every cliché there is. At first, I was just going to say “predictable”, but this show seems to go a step beyond that. Yes, every move they make, every new twist is done and tired and “Yeah, I already knew that.” Beyond that, this show takes itself too seriously. I don’t expect a network drama or procedural to be comedic or camp, but I also expect it to be authentic. When a show, or anything really, takes itself too seriously it falls into the trap of being melodramatic. And melodrama only works when it is making fun of itself or campy (such as Jane the Virgin). This error makes much of the presentation cliché, from the character archetypes to story progression. It’s sad.
Despite the fact that Salvation is a poorly executed drama that is trying too hard, it’s still entertaining. This is a show that isn’t anything more than a summer distraction, but awful shows can’t be considered actual distractions. This show isn’t terrible, it isn’t even bad, it’s just a show full of missteps that is using only a shred of its true potential. That makes it a shame, but doesn’t suddenly drop it into “unwatchable”. The show serializes a thrilling concept that isn’t often seen in this format. The “this could happen” element will make people tune in this summer; it’s just not going to see another season (I’m predicting). Because while this show is “decent enough” entertainment, it isn’t great and therefore isn’t memorable. People will follow along until the show runs its course, but by fall, it will be forgotten.
I really wanted this show to work, and thought it would blow me away. Maybe someone else will take a look at this show and give us something we deserve to see with a similar premise. Hey, I can dream. 😛