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TV Review: THE PASSAGE

Don’t get too attached. (I’m talking to myself here.) This is network television we’re talking about, and Fox in particular is notorious for premature cancellation of its series, leaving fans hanging. Has the network given us anything resembling any kind of commitment? One of the main reasons I stopped watching network television, second to the fact that 99% of what network TV offers is garbage, is that there is no guarantee that, after getting hooked on a show, it won’t get cancelled right in the middle and leave the story unfinished. It’s just easier to never start watching a show to begin with. With cable, you usually get some kind of guarantee, a limited run; there will be so many episodes of a show that are guaranteed to air, and then if the ratings aren’t good enough the particular cable network might not order another season. The standard networks are prone to cancelling shows on short notice. It looks like we will get at least three episodes of THE PASSAGE. Beyond that, who can say?

For this reason, I secretly wanted to hate THE PASSAGE. I wanted it to blow. That way I could write a scathing review of the pilot episode and move on, never looking back, investing nothing in it. But dammit, it’s *good.* It’s really good. Against my own wishes, I care now. I want it to succeed. I want it to continue.

(Don’t get your hopes up! I must remind myself.)

As for the pilot, it’s a solid story with fine acting. Mark Paul Gosselaar has sure come a long way from SAVED BY THE BELL, and young Saniyya Sidney is a most impressive talent. I’m not a big fan of the modern trend towards breakneck pacing—I prefer the more old-fashioned slow build—and THE PASSAGE suffers from a little bit of that, but not to the extent that it really damages the characterization. As for the vampires—they’re real vampires! Vampires with fangs! Vampires done right! And I dig that they chose to make the heavy for the series (Jamie McShane) a normal-looking, somewhat dorky, bookish type. That he doesn’t look all that intimidating is a refreshing twist, or it should be once he goes all Dracula on us, which he will: all the scientists and shady government types think these vampires are brain-dead, but in the first episode the vamps are already starting in with the mental control trope by appearing in their captors’ dreams.

The pilot is set firmly in the real world, but we know from the novels on which this series is based that it will soon go off the rails like in THE STRAIN, with the vampires posing a threat to the continuance of the human race.

If Fox doesn’t cancel the series before they get the chance.

The best way to ensure that THE PASSAGE sticks around is for you to watch it. Watch it and keep watching it, and encourage others to do the same. There are 17,814 clones of AMERICAN IDOL we’re up against here, friends. Everybody has to do his or her part if we want our weekly dose of vampire.

TheCheezman • January 15, 2019


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