Surface

2005, TV Show

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Comings & Goings: Mad Men, Viva Laughlin

Jon Hamm in Mad Men courtesy AMC

You could get vertigo tonight, scaling the heights of the finale of Mad Men on AMC, and then plumbing the depths of the tone-deaf misfire that is Viva Laughlin, premiering on CBS in the plum slot after CSI before moving to Sundays. There, only those with the most morbid curiosity to watch a show’s slow yet hopefully quick death are likely to follow (unless every critic I know is totally off the mark).First, a salute to the best and most fascinating new show to arrive on TV this year (and I’m even including my quirky new treasure Pushing Daisies in that equation). Mad Men, so hypnotic in its look and style as it recreates a classic movie-worthy image of 1960 Manhattan, is a period piece that says volumes about today, or about any era in which salary and status is tied to self-worth and where people construct a false reality to sell themselves on the American dream.Don Draper (instant star Jon Hamm) would seem to have it all. Besides the movie-star looks, he enjoys upward mo... read more

Should Bionic Woman fail to ...

Question: Should Bionic Woman fail to achieve network-television-caliber ratings on NBC, would NBC/Universal consider permanently moving the show to the Sci Fi Channel? Ratings expectations on a cable network are much lower. The smaller audience that tuned in to watch the show on NBC might be enough to keep the show alive on Sci Fi, assuming the viewers switch over. Furthermore, if we again assume that Universal airs reruns of Bionic Woman on Sci Fi like they did other NBC shows of the genre (Heroes, Surface) and if it does receive decent (cable) ratings, is that a good enough gauge to make a permanent move? I know this seems like a negative assumption about a brand-new show (sci-fi doesn't exactly have a good track record on network television), but I'm just curious if this is something studios ever consider. And if not, why wouldn't they? Answer: A one-word answer: money. Bionic Woman is almost certainly too expensive a show to produce on Sci Fi's budget, although that's hard to ... read more

Blade Scribe Eyes Batman's Return

TV's Blade, Batman Begins

In Part 1 of our Q&A with David S. Goyer, the producer/writer detailed the differences and similarities between Spike TV's Blade: The Series (Wednesdays at 10 pm/ET) and its big-screen begetter. Here he shares the scoop on which other Blade characters will surface on TV, status reports on The Flash, Nicolas Cage's Ghost Rider and the Batman Begins follow-up, and the sad truth about why shows such as read more

I have a comment on a ...

Question: I have a comment on a topic that I've never seen you address, and I could be the only one who feels this way. With so many new shows in the fall, it's really hard sometimes to keep them all straight, and the names of the shows often make this more difficult. They're not very distinctive! Last season, there were three sci-fi shows premiering, and they all had one-word names: Invasion, Threshold and Surface. I could never keep straight which one was on which network, and even though I had read your reviews and knew that you endorsed one especially, I could never remember which one. For this coming fall I've counted eight new series with one-word titles, and none of them are very distinguishable (Vanished, Standoff, Justice, Smith, Jericho, Shark, Traveler, Kidnapped). Just a note to the networks: If I need a visual aid to remember which shows I want to check out, I'm not likely to watch — unless they become hits and the name is repeated enough to remind me. Not a very good ... read more

Why should anyone watch any ...

Question: Why should anyone watch any of the new network sci-fi shows when their record of cancellation is so predictable? Why should I get myself involved in the plot and characters when there's a 90-percent certainty that the network(s) will dump any new show? And why do the networks continue to produce new shows of this sort if they don't intend to support them? I was a huge fan of Invasion and Surface. We Surface fans even dared to hope there would be more episodes when the last show stated it was the "season" finale, not the "series" finale. I and all of my friends are highly disgusted with network TV. The only reason Stargate SG-1 endured was because Showtime premiered it and stuck by it. Thanks for listening. Answer: I'm guessing this is a retroactive question, because there are almost no new network series that play into the sci-fi/fantasy arena (NBC's Heroes is the most notable exception). If you're wondering why anyone last season bothered watching any of the networks' genre ... read more

This TV Season's Winners and Losers!

Patrick Dempsey of Grey's Anatomy, Matt LeBlanc of Joey

Put a fork in the 2005-06 TV season. For the fourth straight year, CBS was crowned the most watched network, with an average of 12.6 million viewers per week. Fox was able to crow as well — for the second year in a row it was No. 1 among viewers ages 18 to 49, the group most coveted by advertisers. ABC didn't come up with a new hit, but its audience grew as Grey's Anatomy, Lost and Desperate Housewives remained hot, and Dancing with the Stars read more

The Results Are In
A look at the winners and losers of the 2005-2006 season

Hugh Laurie, House

Put a fork in the recent TV season — it officially ended on May 24, so now it's time to tally the results. For the fourth straight year, CBS was crowned the most-watched network, with an average of 12.6 million viewers per week. While the network didn't score any smash hits, new shows such as Criminal Minds, The Unit and Ghost Whisperer were solid ratings performers. Fox was able to crow as well: for the second year in a row it was No. 1 among viewers aged 18 to 49, the group most coveted by advertisers. But this year the network won the demo race wi read more

Thanks for your support of ...

Question: Thanks for your support of Invasion this season. I was a little sad but not surprised to see that it had been canceled. I consider it a fascinating experiment that yielded some wonderful results, like Shaun Cassidy's other series, American Gothic, although it certainly wasn't for all tastes. Best of all, it brought the talents of William Fichtner, who was able to simultaneously convey both menacing and sympathetic qualities, to my attention. I will miss Sheriff Underlay most of all. I don't consider it a "waste of time" to have taken a chance on a series that had a high chance of failure. It was worth it to see something interesting and a little different. So tell us what you think now that the decision's in. What do you think about Invasion and about investing time and love in low-chance shows? Answer: I couldn't agree more with the praise for William Fichtner, one of the more original villains-turned-heros I've ever witnessed. I liked Invasion when it was too slow for many, ... read more

I am very excited about the ...

Question: I am very excited about the new Caprica pilot in development as a prequel to television's most engrossing drama, Battlestar Galactica. I was wondering, with all the network synergy that continues to exist, if NBC could air first-run episodes of Caprica with encores in the usual Sci Fi Friday time slot. NBC needs some kind of high-concept series, and it may be a potential hit if they pick up Heroes, but Caprica already has a built-in audience. By airing on NBC, Caprica will attract Galactica fans while also attracting new audiences who may not necssarily be familiar with Galactica if NBC promotes it properly. In turn, new people will be brought to Galactica on Sci Fi. Answer: The way synergy tends to work is that NBC is more likely to replay Heroes on Sci Fi (much as Surface did during its run) than for NBC to put a Sci Fi show onto its much higher-profile real estate. There are exceptions. NBC has given exposure to Battlestar Galactica on Saturday, but there's little precedent ... read more

In last Monday's edition of ...

Question: In last Monday's edition of Ask Matt, you mention that Invasion was the only genre show to get the entire season aired on network television. I just want you to know that this is incorrect: I realize you weren't a Surface fan, but they did play the entire season. It was a short one due to, I believe, the Olympics, but it still had a season finale, which was good enough for me. Answer: True, but my point was that Invasion was the only show of its type to get a full-season order of 22 episodes. Surface was rushed to a finale after only 15 episodes, in part to make room for the Olympics and to make way for a mid-season slate of new shows to follow, but also because (you have to think) NBC had pretty much given up on it. And while that was good enough for you, it wasn't for many fans, who continue to write in confusion about where the show went and if it's coming back (an answer we won't have until NBC announces its schedule on May 15). But from what I hear of the network's ... read more

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Premiered: September 19, 2005, on NBC
Rating: None
User Rating: (42 ratings)
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Premise: Mysteries of the deep are at the center of this sci-fi drama as the discovery of `seemingly innocent' underwater creatures sets off a wave of events that pulls in various people from around the world. The cast of characters includes a bold marine biologist, an inquisitive teen and a scuba diver, whose quest for the sea monsters becomes an obsession.

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