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TV Series Review

You can do a lot in six months. You can watch a full NFL football season, from the first regular season game to the Super Bowl. You can train for a marathon or improve your credit score. If you really buckle down, you can learn a language or write a novel.

But is it enough time to save the world? A handful of would-be do-gooders is about to find out.

Great Balls of Fire!

An asteroid is hurtling toward earth, and it's a big 'un. It's so massive, in fact, that if it hits earth as predicted, it'll almost certainly wipe out life as we know it.

Some folks at the Pentagon have apparently known about this hunk o' rock hurtling toward Earth for a while now. And they'd sure like to do something about it. But you know how the government is: It takes 17 forms and 54 signatures to requisition a box of paper clips. The process for developing nigh- impossible Earth-saving technology would be so bureaucratically complex that the planet might be saved via a red-tape cocoon instead.

Sure, the Feds could bring in some outside help: Literally everyone has a reason to stop the catastrophe. But the Pentagon—never an organization known for its transparency—believes that the crisis is on a need-to-know basis. So the top brass has decided that most people, even most people in the Pentagon, don't need to know.

Still, massive galactic wrecking balls do tend to attract attention eventually. Liam Cole, a student at MIT, was the first civilian to spot the asteroid. He brought it to the attention of Darius Tanz—the handsome, brilliant, charming, rich head of his very own tech-slash-rocket-building company. Now they, along with Pentagon public relations officer Grace Darrow, are putting their own plan into orbit. Maybe they can figure out a way to blow the thing up, push it aside or—if worse comes to worse—send a small remnant of humanity to start anew on Mars.

But saving the world is never easy. Even if Tanz and his team successfully surmount any number of technological hurdles, they still have a bevy of other obstacles to overcome. Nosy journalists are poking about. Lies and obfuscation muck up the landscape. And then there are all those mysterious murders and disappearances. Those who get a whiff of the crisis—anyone without a super-high security clearance, that is—discover they had a whole lot less than six months to work with.

Shooting Stars

Despite its name, Salvation is not particularly religious. Nor is it particularly good. This summer CBS series is designed to fill space and kill time until fall, when network television's more hotly anticipated shows will flood the airwaves.

While a little silly, perhaps, this CBS series has some bright spots. Actors Charlie Rowe and Jennifer Finnigan are likeable enough playing Liam and Grace. And while I think that the entertainment industry has perhaps a few too many handsome, brilliant, charming, rich tech giants, I suppose the planet should be happy that this one is using all his money and brilliance and charm for the common good here instead of becoming a supervillain or something.

But while it's great that Tanz and team want to save the world and all, is Salvation itself worth saving? Depends, really. The show does mind its manners more than some. We see sexual dalliances, for example, but they are not filmed in graphic detail. Language is more restrained than what you'd hear on your typical prestige-TV cable show. And while certainly the threat of worldwide extinction is a bummer, most of the violence before the big event is conveyed via suggestion rather than bloodily played out before the camera.

Salvation is not the worst show on television. Nor is it the best. It's just … there. But frankly, if I knew that I had six months left before an asteroid hit, I'd spend my time somewhere else.

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Episode Reviews

Salvation: July 12, 2017 "Pilot"



Readability Age Range



Charlie Rowe as Liam Cole; Jennifer Finnigan as Grace Darrow; Jacqueline Byers as Jillian; Santiago Cabrera as Darius Tanz; Ian Anthony Dale as Deputy Secretary of Defense Harris Edwards; Shazi Raja as Amanda Charles; Rachel Drance as Zoe; Erica Luttrell as Claire Rayburn






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On Video

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Paul Asay

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