BYUtv is the official home of Extinct. Because this TV station is associated with the Mormon church, I had my doubts that it could be sufficiently gritty enough to hold my attention. Nothing against religion of course, but I like my TV shows to be dark and deep without easy answers to moral questions. I want characters to struggle with ambiguity. I want suffering. I want to be challenged. I want to be surprised.
So the tight restraints that a religious station might impose on a narrative had me doubtful that this series could hold my attention.
But Extinct has an ace up the sleeve – the great Orson Scott Card. Author of the post-apocalyptic masterpiece Ender’s Game. A book that I’ve read more than once. And then I read the sequels to Ender’s Game. And then I read the parallel novel Ender’s Shadow. And then I read all the sequels to that book as well. And then I watched the Ender’s Game movie. Twice.
Needless to say I’m a fan of the man’s work. So I got over my skepticism and tried the show out.
So was it any good? Read below to find out.
NO SPOILERS SECTION
The most recent episode to air was episode 7, so we have a good sampling for judgment. And I must say that this series has impressed me.
The writing is good, the acting is surprisingly good. I am drawn in by the bigger mysteries, and the character development is satisfying and believable. The series is passable until it truly hits its stride around episode 6 – since then it has been great. Up there with our favorite shows based on the “time it stays unwatched on the DVR” metric.
MILD SPOILERS FOR THE BOLD
For the purists out there, this show is indeed post-apocalyptic. Set some hundreds of years after the demise of the human race, a mysterious sentient species has brought humanity from extinction using archived DNA. But their involvement is minimal, and humanity already faces a new biological threat – mind-control parasites.
Halo fans will gladly welcome Guilty Spark (here known as “Yellow”) back as a lead character of their post-apocalyptic sci-fi.
Stargate fans will recognize the Goa’uld (here known as “skin riders”) are up to their old tricks again. What’s more, the mind-control parasites still inexplicably cling to those primitive staff weapons.
It takes a few episodes to really get going, but episodes six and seven have been riveting. On what is probably the lowest budget sci-fi on television, they’ve managed to pull together a compelling show that competes with the top SciFi channel offerings.
If you like the alien invasion post-apocalyptic subgenre, then you’re probably going to like Extinct. I highly recommend.
Check it out on BYUtv Sundays at 7PM MT or stream the first 8 episodes for free from their website.
UPDATE: Extinct was not renewed for a second season, but we still advocate watching Season 1, despite the cliffhanger.