Debris, new show on NBC

OK, last night was the pilot of Debris. Apparently a damaged alien spacecraft has been spotted moving through the solar system and debris has been falling to earth.

Parts have been collected and are being sold on the black market. To whom, we don’t know, but they seem to have to ability to teleport, but not always to exactly where they wanted to go.

Two lead investigators, one US, the other a Brit, are leading the investigation.

Floating bodies and bystanders dripping through floors are interesting.

What do you all think? Yea or Nay?

Yet another serialized drama in the wake of the success of Lost. Most of these have been cancelled long before the underlying mystery is solved, so I’m leery of getting interested in a story that I’ll never see the end of.

Perhaps if the series length is defined in advance and the network commits to airing the entire story. (And not then dragging it out, like Lost or The Killing did.)

Summation: Tropey procedural with nifty FX. Like much Sc-Fi TV, anything you can imagine can happen - in other words, no rules!

I realize that a lot of useful intel can be gleaned from sifting through garbage… but isn’t it the rookies who have to get into rubber hip-waders and rubber gloves? Its a really bad spin on the Spiderman movie.

My wife likes stuff about aliens among us, and we’ve been scraping around to find new series-based things to watch lately, so I’ve been hoping it’s watchable. Will probably catch it on hulu in the next day or so.

The TV Club review is not promising. Of the two lead investigators:

Debris fails to establish them as dynamic duo worth rooting for in the way the pilot of X-Files did for Scully and Mulder.

I’m pretty much avoiding any “mystery box” shows on the networks anymore because of this. Premium cable/streaming only for me.

My first thought on seeing the trailers was a more up to date X-Files. I’m having some issues following the dialogue. Does it seem that they mumble somewhat, or do I just need to turn up the sound or sub titles?

One series like this I watched was The Crossing, and it was okay-ish, if jumpy, but it was cancelled before it concluded. Another recent one I really liked, but did have a satisfying ending, I guess as a contingency in case it got cancelled (which it did), was Emergence.

Wife and I watched the pilot last night. Started out somewhat promising, though as the AVClub review I posted upthread said, the two leads certainly ain’t no Muldur and Scully-- they are pretty wooden and boring, with no chemistry, even though the show is trying to establish some. Also, the sound mix, at least at the beginning, was strangely off to the point that the background sounds and music overwhelmed the dialogue and I could hardly hear what they were saying. My hearing is fine, and my wife noticed the same thing. I had to turn on the captions to follow what they were saying.

Then, when they got into the ‘story of the week’ the show went totally off the rails for me. I actually yelled “this is STOOOPID!” at one point:

Story of the week spoiler:

So, the basic plot is that the “good guys” (CIA and MI-6) are trying to recover the fallen to Earth debris of a wrecked alien spacecraft which has many different super-techy alien properties, most of which seem to be very dangerous, and keep it out of the hands of the “bad guys”.

They discover one crashed piece of debris in woods near a house that looks like a big disco ball. They seem to be awfully cavalier about walking right up to debris, especially seeing that one person in an early scene ‘phased’ through 16 solid floors to her death when she touched a piece. But they have fancy detectors to examine the debris so I figure they know what they’re doing. They determine the disco ball has powers to read people’s emotions and physically manifest them. And it manifested the dead son of a grieving mom who recently lost him in a traffic accident. The ghost-zombie son uses first the mom and then others as ‘batteries’, mind-controlling them to think they are his parent and reenact the car trip that led to the crash until their energy is used up, they bleed from the eyes, and go into a coma or something.

So the two lead good guys have figured all this out, and use the info to track down the car of the latest victim when it stops at a gas station (part of the reenactment of the accident trip). The one guy goes into the gas station to try to help the victim, while the woman, once again fully knowing what the alien zombie kid is capable of, goes up to the car all alone and starts talking to him. Really? W the everloving F? Of course when the guy comes out of the station he sees his partner and the car gone, because the alien zombie kid has taken his partner as the next victim.

Watched the pilot. It came across to me as a sort of cross between the X-Files, Threshold, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Which is in theory a good thing, since I enjoyed all of those shows. But…it was just kind of bland. I agree Jonathan Tucker seemed to mumble a lot of his dialogue, and neither lead seemed compelling. They weren’t well-written, and neither actor really seemed to be able to breath life into them. And, yeah, the Plot of the Week seemed to involve some Idiot Plotting elements. Still, it was only the pilot, and I’m willing to give it another episode or two to see if it goes anywhere.

On the plus side, it doesn’t exactly seem to be a mystery box show. We know that the McGuffins are debris from an alien spacecraft, we know that MI-6 and the CIA are conniving against each other, we know that the CIA is using the pieces in its possession to reconstruct the craft. MI-6 Agent’s father and the Unknown Faction he’s associated with look like they’ll be an ongoing mystery subplot, but I don’t really see any big core mystery.

I think the mystery box part they’re trying to establish, similar to the long-term alien story arc on the ‘X Files’, is what the grand purpose is of the aliens behind the debris and why / how did the debris land on Earth. The two leads have a conversation on the plane to Kansas, in which the woman says her father wondered why, of all the billion potential planets out there, did the debris end up on Earth of all places?

The why/how the debris landed on Earth is a little confusing. We were told that the spacecraft flew through our solar system and shortly thereafter, some bits and pieces crashed on Earth. The solar system is a really big place (well, not compared to the galaxy as a whole or the universe as a whole) but it could fly all over the solar system without ever getting close enough to rain down debris.

Right, it’s implied that the aliens are intentionally ‘salting’ the Earth with the debris. But to what purpose–to help us or to destroy us? Who knows? Maybe it’s a grand test of our future viability as an evolving species.

I think the show is trying to be both episodic (with the team going from place to place investigating debris events) and serialized, with the larger mysteries unfolding over time. So far, not really compelling.

Excellent points. So, it is a mystery box show. I like those except…has any mystery box show ever had a satisfying conclusion?

Wife and I enjoyed the ending of the show ‘Behind her Eyes’ on Netflix. But that’s a Brit show that had a set 6-episode run. So its ‘mystery twist’ was well-plotted out and all the plot strings tied together nicely toward the end. At least, we thought so.

The problem with American ‘mystery box’ shows is that they try to milk it out with as many seasons as possible, so it either gets canceled without a satisfying ending, or it goes totally off the rails in trying to stretch out the plot elements for as ridiculously long as they can (I know the classic example of that will not be lost on anybody, hehe).

Yes, all these sorts of shows have to have a ending summation written and sealed in a mayonnaise jar on Funk & Wagnalls porch.

Person of Interest? Although the mystery box elements weren’t really apparent from the start.

The Pretender kinda sorta had a ending after two made for Tv films.

But John Doe? Nope.

Kyle XY? Nope.

Journeyman? Nope.

Early Edition? Nope.

etc etc.

I was kinda interested in the team’s Tardis airplane. It sure seemed bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. Also, the normal feelings of inertia inside a plane in flight don’t seem to occur on their plane.

Does the general public know that these things they find are from an alien spacecraft? I can see how some folks would want to capture pieces for themselves, but when a hotel housekeeper picks up a small piece and plunges through 16 floors of building to land on a table in the ballroom would serve as a pretty good example of why one shouldn’t do that. Seems to me that most people would learn pretty quickly to leave the stuff alone and notify the experts.

Does my homeowner’s insurance cover damage from part of an alien spacecraft crashing through the roof?