Jeff Korbelik: Halle Berry drives CBS sci-fi thriller 'Extant'

2014-07-05T23:00:00Z Jeff Korbelik: Halle Berry drives CBS sci-fi thriller 'Extant'By JEFF KORBELIK / Column JournalStar.com

The summer’s most-anticipated new drama begins Wednesday when movie star Halle Berry fronts Steven Spielberg’s “Extant.”

The 13-episode series begins at 9 p.m. Wednesday on CBS (Time Warner Cable channels 11 and 1011).

Set in the future -- bathroom mirrors double as TVs -- “Extant” is a mystery thriller about female astronaut Molly Woods (Berry) trying to reconnect with her family after returning from a year in outer space.

Her experiences in space -- she comes back pregnant despite being alone -- lead to events that ultimately will change the course of human history. Extant is the opposite of extinct, after all.

The supporting cast includes Goran Visnjic (“ER”) as Molly’s inventor/scientist husband, John; Pierce Gagnon as their son, Ethan; Hiroyuki Sanada (“Helix”) as a wealthy tech genius and Michael O’Neill (“Bates Motel”) as Molly’s boss. Sanada and O’Neill regularly play baddies, so you can guess what they are here.

All the questions you have from watching the trailers, especially about the Woods’ son, Ethan, are answered in the pilot. Of course, the first episode will leave you with more questions -- which will make the drama one of the most compelling (or maddening) of the summer.

Berry’s character drives the story. The Oscar winner is a good choice for the role. She plays Molly strong and smart, yet vulnerable, which is why Molly’s in her predicament.

And while “Extant” is a mystery, you can expect a commentary of sorts on freewill, which is at the heart of the storyline about artificial intelligence. Just how important is freewill? We’ll soon find out. Grade: B

Across the remote

* The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences announces this year’s Emmy nominations Thursday morning. Expect “Breaking Bad,” “Game of Thrones,” “Modern Family” and “Veep” to rake in the nominations. I wouldn’t be surprised if some newer shows -- “Masters of Sex” and “Hannibal” among them -- pick up multiple ones, too.

* Shows starting new seasons this week include “Witches of East End” (8 p.m. Sunday, Lifetime), “The Bridge” (9 p.m. Wednesday, FX) and “Hemlock Grove” (Friday, Netflix).

* “Criminal Minds” (CBS) will introduce Jennifer Love Hewitt (“Ghost Whisperer,” “The Client”) as a series regular during the Oct. 1 season premiere. She will play Kate Callahan, an undercover FBI agent who joins the BAU team. She replaces Jeanne Tripplehorn.

* AMC has renewed “Turn,” the Revolutionary War-era drama, for a second season.

* Caterina Scorsone, who plays Derek Shepherd’s sister, Amelia, has been promoted to series regular on ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy.”

* “Sherlock” will return for a fourth season on PBS. The three-episode run will be augmented with a special, too.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7213 or jkorbelik@journalstar.com. On Twitter @LJSjeffkorbelik.

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