Review of Surface

Surface (2005–2006)
Is there anybody down there? Yes. Uh-oh...
8 March 2006
At the time of writing, of the three shows riding "Lost"'s supposedly supernatural coattails (ironically, "Lost" is the least fantastical of the lot when you think about it), "Threshold" is gone and the fates of "Invasion" and "Surface" are in the air. The first two are no great losses (after "Invasion" and "American Gothic" I've learned my lesson - no more Shaun Cassidy shows, ever), but "Surface"... that's another matter.

The Brothers Pate's series lacks the methodical (to put it kindly) pacing of "Invasion" - which I admit I bailed out of screaming - and the sub-"X-Files" aura of "Threshold," preferring instead to go for such old-fashioned tactics as keeping the story moving along and having something actually happen each week (the sinkhole swallowing up a lake and the unfortunates sailing on it is a standout), but it also has some good wrinkles to throw in.

The mysterious creatures that are at the core of the show aren't necessarily evil, certainly not as bad as some of the humans; our main doctor hero (Lake Bell) may be a woman but her sex is completely incidental to the yarn (even allowing for her swimwear scenes) - kudos to Jonas and Josh Pate for having her relationship with Jay R. Ferguson be as a fellow Person Who Knows The Truth and not as a lover - and the running side story of Miles and the creature manages to stay the right side of sentimentality, with bonus points earned for making his big sister (the very cute Leighton "Debbie from '24'" Meester) less of a cow as time goes on. (If sentimentality can be used for a scaly electrical-conducting biting thing.)

Admittedly, "Surface" can't completely hide its sources - particularly "The Abyss" and to a lesser extent "E.T." - and the scripts have more holes than the Pussycat Dolls' collective wardrobe (how is it possible for someone to plunge to the ocean floor in a submersible, come back up full speed ahead, and not suffer the kind of bends last endured by Miguel Ferrer in "DeepStar Six"?), but no one will ever call it boring. It's strange that the least promoted of the trio of "Threshold," "Invasion" and "Surface" should turn out to be the one that's most watchable - but then again, the people who gave us "GvsE" will always trump Brannon Braga and Shaun Cassidy. Won't they?
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