A new species of sea creatures threaten the very existence of man.
During a late-night trip out with friends on a boat, high school student Miles Barnett (Carter Jenkins) has an encounter with some sort of creature, but no one will believe what he saw. He later returns to the spot and finds some eggs and takes one home. In a deep-water submersible in the North Pacific Ocean, marine biologist Laura Daughtery (Lake Bell) also has an encounter with a very large unidentifiable creature. Meanwhile, Richard Connelly (Jay R. Ferguson), sees something take his brother while on a scuba diving fishing trip. Around the world, strange creatures are being seen and even a dead carcass of one is found on a beach, but government officials led by the mysterious and not all together altruistic Dr. Aleksander Cirko (Rade Serbedzija) are keeping these sightings covered up. The egg Miles steals hatches into a web-footed aquatic lizard which Miles names Nimrod. As the series progresses, Laura and Richard join forces and the true origin and goal of these creatures is revealed with the very survival of the human race at risk.
The storyline for Surface felt fresh and new and the plot was an intriguing mix of sci-fi and government conspiracy thriller. It touches on some heavy themes centered around the implications and the ramifications of genetic engineering and biotechnology. The creature design and special effects were adequate and never detracted from the story it was telling. The script was well written and felt fresh and new. The characters were endearing and easily relatable, and Miles and his connection to Nimrod allowed the audience someone to connect with. Carter Jenkins does a wonderful job as the fourteen-year-old with a big heart and a powerful connection to one of the creatures. Lake Bell, who currently provides the voice for the Black Widow in the MCU’s What If…? Series, plays a strong and tough female lead. Jay R. Ferguson (The Connors) is also wonderful as the male lead who is struggling with his own insecurities and guilt while trying to find out what really is going on.
Surface premiered on September 19, 2005 on NBC and at the same time in syndication on the Sci-Fi Channel. It is hard to believe that it was nearly 20 years ago, it seems just like yesterday. I watched the first few episodes during the original broadcast, but due to my schedule I did not watch the whole series, but my husband did. During one episode in which a beloved character seems to get killed, from my bed I hear a sorrowful wail come from the living room. A powerful and saddening, “Noooooooo!”. Awakened by this horrible emotional outburst, I run into the living room, only to be told what had transpired on the television with his favorite character being dispatched. I then forbade him from ever watching television again before returning to my slumber. That didn’t stick by the way…. he kept watching and spoiler alert, the character wasn’t killed. Unfortunately for him and the loyal fan base that the show garnered, the ratings were not high enough to keep the show going and after its first season of fifteen episodes, the show was not renewed. Even more dire, it seemingly ended on a cliffhanger leaving the fate of the three main characters up in the air with only the audience’s imagination finishing the story.
It is particularly sad and infuriating when a show like Surface, with its new and very fresh stories, gets cancelled without getting a chance to thrive. It means that the Powers-That-Be are all the more likely to fall back on the same tired series and police procedurals that already saturate the networks and streaming services and are more likely to pass on truly original shows. And when they do greenlight fresh original shows the vast majority suffer the same fate as Surface. Just ask anyone who has invested themselves in a Netflix show whose sci-fi series usually end up in the cancelation graveyard after a single season.
This was a well produced, written and acted show that unfortunately never found a large enough audience to continue.
Forgotten Television: Surface 2005
- Writing - 9/109/10
- Storyline - 10/1010/10
- Acting - 9/109/10
- Music - 8/108/10
- Production - 9/109/10
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