Fox’s new science fiction series, The Passage, which is based on Justin Cronin’s trilogy of novels, got off to a great start this week. The pilot served as an appetizer to whet our taste buds for what’s to come in this series, giving us small bites of different aspects of the universe established in Justin Cronin’s books and the changes made in order to transfer it to the screen. So far, all of the important book elements are present (or on their way), and the changes make sense, given the different logistics required for books vs TV.
I enjoyed everyone in the cast, though I can’t say they’re all exactly how I pictured the characters in the book. That’s mostly because the show has done a great job of diversifying what was a very white, male cast of characters in the book version of Project Noah. This is a welcome change. The gender swaps have already made for some intriguing changes in character interactions.
The early part of the story depends on the chemistry and believability of the pseudo father-daughter relationship between Mark-Paul Gosselaar’s federal agent, Brad Wolgast, and Saniyya Sidney’s orphaned 10 year old girl, Amy Bellafonte. The two actors nail it. Individually, they are each talented, charismatic and charming. Together, they share an immediate warmth and light that makes it understandable why they’d bond so quickly. Both characters come into the relationship feeling like they are alone in the world and each is mourning a deep loss. Their chemistry allows them to slot each other into the holes in their hearts.
The virals (vampires) are suitably menacing as they lie in wait for their prey and use hypnotic psychological tricks to draw in their victims. The series has added the threat of a global avian flu pandemic, which kills its victims in 12 hours, to help explain the reasoning for the accelerated pace of the research on the virals, who were meant to cure all diseases.