Saturday, September 24, 2005


Strange lights are seen in the sky, and in the days following there are reports of mysterious life-forms in the water.

In a way, that one line description could be applied to all three of the new spooky shows on the major networks - ABC's 'Invasion', 'Threshold' on CBS, and the NBC drama formerly known as 'Fathom', 'Surface'.

(It looks like 'Lost' was the inspiration for the influx of moody suspense dramas, although it doesn't have the alien angle - at least as far as the producers are claiming. And it may have inspired the use of one-word series titles as well, with 'Supernatural' on the WB and the FOX show 'Bones' - which I would have called 'Dem Bones' just for a lark.)

After that initial premise, however, the shows go off in their own directions.

On 'Threshold', it was probably the glowing 4-dimensional spaceship that went into the water, after infecting Navy personnel with a mutation caused by harsh harmonics.

In a similar fashion, alien entities entered the Everglades under the cover of a hurricane. But just like in 'Threshold', humans are either being replaced or inhabited or manipulated to serve the architects of this 'Invasion'.

As for the menace in 'Surface', what it is ain't exactly clear as the song goes. Could it just be some new kind of aquatic life brought forth from the ocean depths via that network of craters? Did they arrive from outer space? Or are they rapidly evolving mutations due to the radiation from the meteor showers?

Whatever the 'Surface' mystery, it does show that the potential threat is not as localized as in the other two shows. ('Invasion' takes place in Homestead, Florida. The aliens of 'Threshold' obviously knew what they were doing when they initiated first contact for their conquest within easy reach of the nation's capital.) In its first hour alone, 'Surface' ran the gamut from A to B (Antarctica to Belize), with stops in North Carolina, California, and Louisiana - as if those folks didn't have enough trouble from Katrina and its waves.

Whatever its strange lifeforms may be, whether home-grown or extra-terrestrial, the creatures of 'Surface' come in a variety of shapes and sizes. AS David Bianculli describes them in the New York Daily News, they "range in size from leviathan to pint-size, and some are amphibian in nature, venturing onto dry land."

Paging Steve Zissou! [This would be the perfect opportunity to give Bill Murray's character a tele-version!]

So after a similar initial premise, all three new series are venturing off to explore the storyline tangents that will differentiate them from each other.

But this is Toobworld, and in this TV Universe 'Threshold', 'Invasion', 'Surface' should all be taking place at the same time.

So could it be that we can make a theoretical case for them to all be linked together despite their differences?
I think so. But then I would, wouldn't I? (Cripes, I wouldn't have typed this much otherwise!)

'Threshold' aired first, and as such its close encounter could be seen as the opening salvo of the 'Invasion'; while the next waves would be more subtle, just under the 'Surface' of general notice. (As an alien/human hybrid I know would say "T'hee!")

Major differences between the shows will eventually make it nearly impossible to reconcile future plotlines for linkage. But that's... okay, because I think it's only the initial "Spearhead From Space" that will matter for this purpose.

I think the reason why three such similar shows are veering off into distinct permutations of their premise is because they are all separate alien species. But their common arrival on Earth was due to an alliance between those species; pooling their resources and their technology to make the interstellar voyage to Earth. Once they got here, of course, all bets were off (no matter how many quatloos you doubled down) and it was every ET-equivalent man for itself.

We certainly have the precedent for such an alliance right here on Earth. Had the Axis powers of Germany, Italy, and Japan eventually emerged victorious, they would have probably turned against each other to gain total world domination.

Should these alien species ever cross over to each other's series, which as we know is highly unlikely, we would probably see these ETs not only cross paths but also cross swords. Figuratively, that is.

But since I'm only concerned with their initial arrivals, and that's already a page right out of History, I feel confident in declaring this missing link to be a valid theory.

Now alls we need is for Fox "Spooky" Mulder to get called in for a consult.

That and the materialization of a blue Police Box in the middle of the Everglades!

[For my sister's sake, Mulder better be wearing Speedos at some point if he shows up on (or beneath the) 'Surface'!]


Addendum: I've just finished watching my tape of last night's episode of 'Threshold' ("Blood Of The Children"). And the possibility was raised that the 4-D "spaceship" might have also mutated the Life Aquatic. So the door is still open for us to assume a possible link between at least 'Threshold' and 'Surface'.

"Don't think you can form an empathic bond with it
Just because you fed the beastie.
It doesn't see you as its friend, Dr. Ramsey; it sees you as a meal.
Well... in your case, as a light snack before nappies.
Now then! I fancy a ride in one of those air-boats, Sheriff."
The Tenth Doctor
'Threshold'/'Surface'/'Invasion'/'Doctor Who'
"The Crossover Special"
(Not really, but I can dream, can't I?)

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