Threshold: The Complete Series
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THRESHOLD is a suspenseful drama about a team of experts who are assembled when the U.S. Navy makes a chilling discovery: an extra terrestrial craft has landed in the mid-Atlantic ocean. Dr. Molly Anne Caffrey (Carla Gugino) is a government contingency analyst whose job is to devise response plans for worst-case scenarios. In a single instant, her life changes when one of those plans--THRESHOLD--is activated by Deputy National Security Advisor J.T. Baylock (Charles S. Dutton). Armed only with her hypothetical strategy to address the appearance of aliens on earth, Caffrey now finds herself thrust in the midst of a global crisis. She hand-picks a team of eclectic specialists to prepare for first contact: Dr. Nigel Fenway (Brent Spiner), a disillusioned NASA microbiologist; Lucas Pegg (Rob Benedict), a brilliant but neurotic physicist; Arthur Ramsey (Peter Dinklage), an expert in languages and mathematics; and Cavennaugh (Brian Van Holt), a highly trained covert operative with a mysterious past. Together, they decipher the intention of the craft, the fate of the ship's crew and begin preparations for the possibility of a crisis situation--an alien invasion.
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When a mysterious alien object attacks the USS "Big Horn" and its crew in the North Atlantic, the U.S. government protocols for project Threshold go into affect. Dr. Molly Anne Caffrey (Carla Gugino), the contingency analyst who wrote the protocols, becomes the head of the project. She puts together her Red Team, consisting of Dr. Nigel Fenway (Brent Spienr), a molecular biologist, Lucas Pegg (Robert Patrick Benedict), an astronautical engineer, and Arthur Ramsey (Peter Dinklage), an expert in linguistics and applied mathematics. Overseeing the group is J.T. Baylock (Charles S. Dutton), the assistant National Security Advisor, and the muscle of the team is Sean Cavennaugh (Brian Van Holt), a special agent. The team investigates what happened on the ship and learn that the alien probe sent out signals that has altered the DNA of the crew into a triple helix formation, a fractal triskelion-like pattern that will keep appearing throughout the series in blood, electronic signals, city lights, and ordinary household objects that get spilled on the floor.
Originally the top item on the Threshold agenda is to track down the missing crew members, but then the major concern becomes stopping the aliens from infecting more humans.Read more ›
Unfortunately, Spiner and other characters barely get any screen time. The less interesting characters, played by Brian Van Holt and Carla Gugino (who's gorgeous. If you want to see how gorgeous, watch "Sin City"), get undue attention. Apparently, Spiner's Dr. Fenway was to take over leadership of the group in season 2. It's ridiculous that they didn't give a big role at the beginning. Star Trek fans would watch the show just for him, I think.
The dialogue is uninspired. The first season goes by and you never see a full-fledged alien. Sadly, the best episodes were the ones that never aired. Finally, there's some real excitement: a half-alien vigilante, vegetables with human body parts, Alienville!
I think the main reason this series didn't do well is that you had to watch each and every week to know what is going on. So if you didn't catch the first one... Remember what happended to the "X-Files?" The station should've at least given them a few more episodes to end the series properly. There are some special features to watch, but if you liked this series and wanted closure, you won't see a wrap-up episode here.
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**Caution some minor spoilers ahead for those who haven't seen the show*** Skip the next three short paragraphs.
For those that haven't seen the show the premise is very powerful allowing for suspense and very effective; an alien probe with 4 or 5 dimensional properties shows up. It's signal effects the crew altering their DNA from our normal double helix rewriting the DNA of the crew into a triple helix. It's an alien invasion done by making US the aliens.
Dr. Molly Caffrey (Carla Gugino best known from "Spy Kids" and "Sin City")created a protocol for first contact including hostile first contact. She assembles a team of top notch scientists in their field including Dr. Nigel Fenwya (Brent Spiner of "Star Trek:The Next Generation"); Lucas Pegg (Robert Patrick Benedict from "Felicity") a brilliant physicists and designer for NASA; Arthur Ramsey (Peter Dinklage "Elf" and from the film "Find Me Guilty")a brilliant mathematician and linguist and covert ops agent Sean Vavennaugh (Brian Van Holt from "S.W.A.T." and "Black Hawk Down"). They form the basis with Assistant Secretary of Defense J.T. Baylock (Charles S. Dutton)of "Red Team" whose job is to identify the threat, find out the aliens agenda and neutralize them.
The USS Big Horn's crew is infected with many of them dying while others develop superhuman strength, rapid healing abilities and all share a dream of the alien world and race that wants to "Bioform" humanity and terraform our planet for their own purposes. Suddenly Red Team has an outbreak on their hands and they must capture the sailors before they can infect others. The fact that the sailors choose multiple paths of infection make their job that much more difficult. When various members of their team accidently experience some level of infection it gives them a link to the aliens but also could potential pose a danger to the team.
**End of potential spoilers***
Well written, with top notch acting, writing and direction the show may have suffered from an inconsistent tone as the show was looking to establish its identity but towards the end of the run the show truly did find its voice. Unfortunately the best episodes of the series (the last four) never aired at all and fans of the series are in for a real treat. It's a pity this show wasn't given a chance (the producers had a three year story arc planned out)but what we do get provides for a marvelous and entertaining "mini-series".
The DVD comes with some very nice extras for such a short lived series. We get a four part documentary on the making of the show from the origin of the concept, through casting, the planned story arc and other elements. We also get a good featurette on the visual effects of the show. There's also an Easter Egg. Finally we get a very good featurette with science advisor/producer/writer Andre Bormanis ("Star Trek: The Next Generation") discussing the fractal geometry of the alien "message" that coverted people over and its real scientifici basis. He also discusses real efforts to work on adding a third strand of DNA to the double-helix in labs to modify food, etc. We also get a commentary track on the pilot by producer/director/writer David Goyer ("Blade")and Brannon Braga ("Star Trek: The Next Generation", "Enterprise"). The fact that the show was able to attract some top notch film directors/TV directors (Peter Hyams, Bill L. Norton, David S. Goyer among others) and writers is a pretty good sign of the high quality of the show.
An excellent series "Threshold" was the best of the science fiction shows that appeared in 2005 and one of the best (by its end) of the new crop of shows on the air. It's a pity it was cut short. The show is spread out over four discs and housed in individual slimline cases with two discs in each set.
I'd highly recommend this underrated show that was cancelled far too soon.
The government agency gathers up a group of outstanding scientists to figure out what happened, and stop the threat. As the series progresses, it seems that the threat is an alien invasion which used the object to 'infect' the men with themselves by transmitting complicated information into their DNA helix. Some of the survivors escape and mingle with the population, apparently with the goal of infecting the entire human race with the ultimate goal to re-create the Earth as a new home for the alien invaders.
The makers of the series cleverly exploit the fear of hidden threats in a post 9/11 world where threats can emerge from nowhere, and from people you never suspected. The situation is made worse by the fact that the 'threats' are 'home-grown' and therefore impossible to detect and stop before they do damage. In a way, the invasion is an updated allegory of the internal threats to our society, real or imagined, from the 'other' who is hidden in our midst yet a clear and present danger.
Sadly, this series was quickly cancelled before it could really take off the ground, and the interesting themes explored in reasonable depth.
I'm looking forward to picking up the DVD set.
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