'Extant,' 'Finding Carter' premiere

Halle Berry with Goran Visjnic (left) and Pierce Gagnon in "Extant."
Halle Berry with Goran Visjnic (left) and Pierce Gagnon in "Extant."
Posted: July 09, 2014

* EXTANT. 9 p.m. tomorrow, CBS3.

* THE BRIDGE. 10 p.m. tomorrow, FX.

* FINDING CARTER. 10 tonight, MTV.

HALLE BERRY'S on television this summer.

This might be the equivalent of saying - last summer - that Stephen King had placed a dome over a small Maine town and CBS had filmed the results.

Some of you are already camped out on the couch, waiting.

In "Extant," CBS' new summer series from Steven Spielberg, Berry plays an astronaut just back from a supposedly solitary 13 months in space who's trying to reconnect with her scientist husband (Goran Visnjic, "ER") and their unusual and slightly creepy son (Pierce Gagnon).

CBS sent tomorrow's premiere to critics only - again, it stars Halle Berry! - but if you can get past the fact that we first encounter Berry's character in mid-vomit, it's a visually engaging look at a nearish future where private enterprise dominates science more than ever and, perhaps, at the meaning of family and even of life and death.

I say "perhaps" because one hour out of 13 isn't enough to tell if the many questions raised by "Extant" will be dealt with in any coherent way or whether, this time next summer, we'll still be wondering.

'The Bridge'

Last summer, I wanted everyone I knew to watch FX's "The Bridge" (if only so I'd have people to talk to about it).

As the series set on the Texas-Mexico border returns tomorrow for a second summer, I'm watching. I'm just not as ready to push it on everyone else.

Pegged perhaps a little too closely to the plot of its Scandinavian original (which I've yet to see), "The Bridge" turned out not just to be very, very dark but also contrived, with a killer who drew focus from the mysteries surrounding the missing young women of Juarez.

Those mysteries continue in Season 2, and so do Demian Bichir and Diane Kruger as Marco Ruiz and Sonya Cross, cops from different sides of the border. Their odd-couple pairing often mirrors the relationship between reporters Adriana Mendez (Emily Rios) and Daniel Frye (Matthew Lillard), and I still find all of them interesting, even if I'm a little concerned that their parallel story lines may take "The Bridge" too far again this season.

'Finding Carter'

What if Lorelai Gilmore, instead of giving birth in her teens and going on to become the Coolest Mom Ever, had snatched Rory off the street and raised her as her own?

Beyond turning "Gilmore Girls" into a very different show, I mean. Because it was the Gilmores I was thinking of in the opening moments of MTV's "Finding Carter," in which we're introduced to a mother-daughter duo with similarly exuberant chemistry, only to see them pulled apart when authorities discover 16-year-old "Carter" (Kathryn Prescott) was abducted 13 years earlier from a less MTV-like setting.

Tonight's two-hour premiere of "Finding Carter" loses absurdly little time reuniting her with the strangers who are her real parents (Cynthia Watros and Alexis Denisof) as well as with her fraternal twin sister (Anna Jacoby-Heron), her wise-beyond-his-years younger brother (Zac Pullam) and her grandparents (Meredith Baxter and Robert Pine).

Adolescent identity issues are universal, and like ABC Family's "Switching Birth," "Finding Carter" doesn't rely entirely on its shocking premise for material: Carter's new/old family may have as many secrets as Lori (Milena Govich), the mother she apparently didn't know as well as she'd thought.

The pilot's intriguing and the twentysomething Prescott's a believable enough TV teen (and a twin in real life). It's too soon to say if "Finding Carter" is the show girls raised on "Gilmore" have been waiting for, but it represents an encouraging departure for the "Teen Mom" network.


Email: graye@phillynews.com

Phone: 215-854-5950

On Twitter: @elgray

Blog: ph.ly/EllenGray

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