I was hoping I’d be able to tell you that BYUtv’s “Extinct” is a show worth watching,but I can’t.
After making my feelings about the show’s co-creator (with Aaron Johnston) and executive producer, Orson Scott Card, resoundingly clear, it would’ve been great to write, “Despite Card’s years of anti-gay writing and bigotry, the show is good,” but it’s not.
This new, 10-episode post-apocalyptic drama isn’t terrible. But the first episode (7 p.m. Sunday, BYUtv) moves so deliberately and feels so flat that it’s boring. And the second episode (7:52 p.m. Sunday) isn’t much better.
Maybe it’s because there is so much exposition. Maybe it’s because it’s so unoriginal. There are pieces of umpteen other sci-fi projects, including “Falling Skies,” which wrapped just two years ago.
Maybe it’s because the level of acting isn’t altogether ready for prime time.
Or maybe it’s just tedious.
“Extinct” is set 400 years after the human race was exterminated by aliens. Different aliens use technology (and CGI) to reconstitute three humans in a lake.
They also reconstitute clothing for them, because this is not HBO.
Those story centers on those three humans — Ezra (Chad Michael Collins), Abram (Yorke Fryer) and Feena (Victoria Atkin). As they try to figure out what’s happening, we see flashbacks to Ezra’s life before he was killed.
While “Extinct” is not overtly Mormon, it is overtly religious.
In one flashback, Ezra is trying to escape the murderous aliens with his wife, Lynn (Jaclyn Hales), and their young daughter, Kylie (Eliza de Azevedo Brown). Kylie asks, “Shouldn’t we say a prayer?” and Lynn seems greatly annoyed that Ezra isn’t focused on that.
“If God let this happen, Lynn, do you really think he’s going to single us out for favor?” Ezra asks.
“Don’t you?” Lynn replies.
So they each say a silent prayer. And then they’re killed by aliens.
OK, we don’t actually see that happen. But we know it does.
The religious aspect is not overdone. But it does stand out because we don’t often see TV characters praying.
Perhaps the last time we saw characters this religious was in BYUtv’s previous scripted series, “Granite Flats” (2013-15). And that got off to a considerably stronger start than “Extinct.”
I’m still amazed that BYUtv is in business with Card. We’re known by the company we keep, and they’re keeping company with a bigot. Card claims he’s the victim because of the blowback he’s received for his virulently anti-gay writings, and he’s tried to back off because it’s cost him work. The Superman comic book he was supposed to write was canceled when DC became aware of his anti-gay activism, and he’s not welcome at a variety of conventions and comic cons.
BYU contends it isn’t homophobic. That’s a tough sell made even tougher by its association with Card.
His bigotry isn’t the reason “Extinct” is underwhelming, but it is a reason not to watch.