Molly Caffrey -
JT Blaylock -
Charles S Dutton
Brian Van Holt
Nigel Fenway -
Lucas Pegg -
Arthur Ramsey -
OTHER SCI FI INVESTIGATIONS
Eleventh Hour (UK)
Eleventh Hour (US)
Trees Made of Glass - Parts 1 & 2
A ship at see comes into contact with a strange light in the sky. The US government immediately sets in motion the Threshold scenario, pulling together the team suggested by Molly Caffrey, crisis management expert. The team which comprises a medical scientist, linguist, mathematician and shadowy action man are yanked out of their lives and whisked off to examine the ship. There they find that all the living creatures have been affected, many showing strange behavioural patterns (as in they create a pattern with their behaviour). The pattern is a fractal and it keeps on occurring.
Some of the crew are missing and there is one survivor. He has been turned into a superman and escapes despite being shot in the chest 4 times. It becomes clear that aliens are rewriting the DNA of their victims, turning us into them. The crisis team are the only ones who can figure out how to catch the rest of the crew before they can infect the rest of the world. In the meantime, they have been personally targeted by the 'infectees'.
If you suffered the disappointment that was the film version of Michael Crichton's Sphere then you've seen the first part of this show. It quickly diverges, however, when the hastily assembled team get to the ship and start trying to figure things out. The mystery element is slowly revealed whilst there are some undeniably tense moments and some really good scares as well. The cast are pretty good, investing their stock characters with a little bit of depth and there is hopefully more of that to come. This, though, is about the plot and that rattles along at a cracking pace.
Threshold shows a lot of promise. Let's hope it can live up to the pre-publicity that Sky has given it.Top
Blood of the Children
A new infectee is discovered, but it isn't one of the crew off the ship. He was the janitor of a military academy. The Red Team immediately launch into action and discover that a plane passed the site of the alien appearance and picked up the signal. Later, at the academy, one of the students was trying to get his computer to work again and infected the janitor and one of the older students. That student has one intention, to put the signal onto the internet. That will infect a third of the population of the USA within a week.
Question, if all the infectees have to do is to get the signal onto the internet, why haven't the crew of the ship managed yet? After all, it's just a matter of going into an internet cafe and posting on a whole bunch of chatrooms. Slight flaw in the plotting, I think.
Anyway, the dark and edgy feel of the show is maintained, much of it taking place in darkened corridors with a threat in every shadow. The climactic showdown is a bit of a letdown, but the Lecteresque meeting afterwards makes up for it. The alien plan is revealed - spread the signal and turn all the humans into improved humans. Couldn't they just send a card?Top
An inmate from a lunatic asylum escapes by twisting guards heads almost off and breaking through an electric fence that should have fried him to a crispy state. Question is, how could someone locked up in a cell for 30 years be infected? The answer lies in what happened to the rest of his family and what drove him to lock them in their basement and set fire to the house.
Another episode and a few more questions are being raised. The aliens were here at least once before and their effects were felt several decades before the last outbreak. In the meantime, another member of the crew has been captured and the team are a step closer to averting the crisis, if not finding the answers.
There is some nice playing here with a few moments of humour that lie oddly with the intense seriousness of the rest of the show. Carla Gugino is carrying the action, but you can't help wishing that some of the others could get more screen time, especially Brent Spiner's cynical scientist. More of him please.Top
An infectee is caught by Baltimore Police whilst trying to steal microchips being brought into the country. They are specific chips being used to make a very advanced and powerful acoustic device, the kind of device that could transmit the signal and infect others. The question is, where was he planning to set it off. The Threshold team have to find some illegal terrorists to trade for their man with another department, but by that time, their man is gone and there's not a lot of time left to stop him.
The Sci-Fi Freak Site is one or supporting all genre shows, but we have to say that THRESHOLD is seriously underwhelming us. This week's episode is more of the same and a good chunk of the time is spent chasing after people who have nothing to do with the main thrust of the plot, all in the name of Washington politicking. The subtext is all about the need to keep the threat secret in order to allow the team to do its job effectively, but the main text is pretty thin and the characters aren't given anything sufficiently new to do to make them more interesting.
THRESHOLD is in serious danger of stalling. It needs something special to perk it up and it needs it soon.Top
A fragment of the alien signal is played by a DJ at a big party. Fortunately, the fragment is too small to have altered the partygoers, but the DJ has gone on the run and there is a greater threat. The signal has somehow got into machines and is spreading electronically.
The early part of this episode is almost interchangeable with the others that have come before it and that is a real problem. The lack of originality in the format is starting to show. It is saved, however by the news that the signal is starting to spread through microchipped machines as well as infected humans. This creates a whole new threat that has to be dealt with in a different manner. The sense of deja vu isn't completely removed, however and that is starting to become a problem for the show.Top
There's a leak in the Threshold team and the papers are on the trail of Caffrey. A Washington DC senator uses the leak to nose around and a whole bunch of Rhode Island residents have started dreaming about glass trees.
Well, following the last few lacklustre episodes, this show has more plot than is almost good for itself. The investigation into the dreaming folk of Rhode Island is the same stuff that has been trotted out throughout the series to date, but the subplot of the leak adds a new dimension that turns rather more dramatic and proves to be a welcome change of pace. There is perhaps hope for THRESHOLD yet.Top
Alien crystals have formed on a plank that showed up in the last episode and the team set out to find the wreck of the original ship to try and track the wreckage. What they find when they finally succeed is the stuff of nightmares for Caffrey. She, on the other hand, has problems of her own as she is licked up in cellar, beaten and bruised with a very dead body nearby.
The show is starting to pick up with its multiple strands. The investigation into a priest who dreams of crystal seas (excuse me, but didn't we do this already?) is very much like all the others that have gone before it, but the search for the ship and what else lies beneath provides the better part of the episode. That and the dramatic opening of Caffrey's predicament, which is eventually wasted in a climax that is no climax.Top
Three women are identified as being infectees in the Washington DC area. The outbreak seems to be unconnected, but the team quickly locate a fertility clinic that has treated all the women. It seems that one of the crewmen from the original ship is providing infected sperm samples and creating alien babies. Life is complicated by the fact that one of the women is the wife of just about the biggest contributor to the President's election fund. Oh, and the new boss is poking around as well.
THRESHOLD has finally really started to hit its stride. This story is fast moving, surprising and shows some real originality. The idea that the signal can be transmitted sexually is a real step forward, giving the prospect of a fast-gestating alien baby to look forward to and the episode also provides real financial clout to the infectees to make their threat even greater. And isn't their new boss just a little too good to be true? There are still problems, not least the fact that skipping the country would allow the infectees a free hand to carry out their operations. why do they keep coming back to the US?
Ah well, it is just nice to see the series getting a real sense of itself and its possibilities.Top
An attempted breakout by the imprisoned infectees forces the Threshold team to move up plans to transport them to a more secure facility. The decision is made to take them all in one ultra secure shipment, but security is compromised and an ambush almost succeeds in releasing them. The events show that the infectees are much more focussed on Threshold than they thought and have plans that strike at the very heart of those fighting for the human race. Answers might come from a guard who has been infected by means unknown and who can be followed through the whole process of bioforming. Mollie has promised to end his life whilst he's still human, but can she keep that promise? One of the team finds infection striking close to home and another is left strapped to a table in Medlab.
Things are starting to fall apart and it's making THRESHOLD all the more interesting. Apart from the infectees targetting the Threshold team directly, the moral decisions made over the infected guard are complex and interesting, not to mention extremely well-acted, especially by Peter Dinklage. Character depths and plot developments all at the same time? Could we ask for anything more? I don't think so.Top
The infected food is identified as the source of Lucas's infection. Fenway, though, has some new ideas as to why he is taking longer to mutate than anyone else and a plan that might bring him back from the brink. The source of the food contamination is the new target of the team and they set about tracing the commonalities between the new reports of infectees and what they ate. There is also a new team member to train. Caffrey gets a visit from the leader of the infectees and gets told a story. Does the file from NASA confirm what he said, or refute it?
The fortunes of the THRESHOLD team are bouncing around like balls in the lottery machine. Lucas, clearly is not having a good time and his plight is having a major impact on Fenway, who declares that he wants to leave and Ramsey who is getting heavier into drink and online gambling. The new girl just plain doesn't want to start. The food contamination is a major setback. They may close it down in this episode, but there are now somewhere in the region of 190 new infectees, which is enough to keep the show going for a while.
This is another episode in the good run that the show has put up recently. The plotting is more seamless and less repetitive, there are some surprising developments and underlying suspicions to play with and the acting level remains pretty high. It looks like the early day jitters are over and the show is gaining in confidence all the time, as well it should now that it is delivering the goods.Top
Ramsey is enjoying a tryst with a stripper when he is rudely interrupted by an alien, but one that kills the stripper and leaves. It turns out that the stripper was an infectee and the man who killed her is a doctor who is only partially mutated and so is able to detect the aliens and kill them, but is not able to distinguish between full infectees and those that have had low levels of exposure such as Molly, Cavvanaugh and Lucas. Information also comes in about the location of the infectees' leader and it appears that he is now after the water.
THRESHOLD is going from strength to strength. The idea of a half-alien vigilante is inspired and brings a whole new dimension to the show. The writers are also willing to take more risks with their main characters. Ramsey is really suffering from the effects of the job and is on a real downward spiral that is dramatically satisfying. The heat is being turned up and the actors are delivering on the good scripts that the writers are producing. This is light years away from the early episodes when things didn't look so good.Top
Molly faces the biggest outbreak yet. One of the infectees makes it back to the very small town on Allenville. Molly and Cavvanaugh go in to investigate and end up posing as infectees when they realise that the whole town is infected and is building a machine to send a message to who knows where. Back at Threshold Central, the others have their hands full when the infected mother to be gives birth and then sets about wreaking havoc when they take the baby away.
THRESHOLD was cancelled just as it was starting to get interesting. True, this episode is a step down from the recent run of excellent shows, but it is still good enough and has some fine dialogue, even when it has ripped the whole idea straight out of THE STEPFORD WIVES.
This then is the end of Molly Caffrey's fight to save the planet, and it's a shame because it is certainly better than Surface, which is also showing and did get picked up by the american networks. It was not, perhaps, as good as we might have liked, and certainly got off to a rocky start, but it showed all the potential of becoming a very fine sci-fi show in its own right.Top
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