As we close in on Upfronts, when networks make final decisions to renew or cancel shows, The Passage remains uncertain of its future. But it needs to be renewed for Season 2, because the story is just getting started. Justin Cronin's trilogy of novels on which Fox's postapocalyptic vampire thriller is based stretches over 2,000 pages; Season 1 was only the first 200 pages of the first book. Canceling it now would be like calling off It 2. Fans have been waiting to see this story unfold for a decade, and it's finally happening. Let them have it!
The show deserves to continue on its own merits, too. It's a morally complex, character-driven genre show of the sort you usually see on cable, not broadcast. Watching it kind of feels like watching early seasons of The Walking Dead. It's a deft mix of genres: sci-fi, horror, action, family drama, survival thriller. And it has a lot of heart. The show's core relationship is between federal agent Brad Wolgast (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) and his adopted daughter Amy Bellafonte (Saniyya Sidney), a girl who has been given extraordinary power that could either save the world or destroy it, if it falls into the wrong hands. Gosselaar is giving one of the best performances of his career as the good-hearted agent, and Sidney is a gifted child actor who is only going to get better as the show continues.
The rest of the cast is doing great work, too, including Vincent Piazza and Brianne Howey as star-crossed lovers Clark Richards and Shauna Babcock, a fed and a vampire (or "viral," in the show's parlance) who fall in love and can't make it work, but still keep trying; Lost alum Henry Ian Cusick as the doctor who created this mess and is now doing whatever he can to end it; and Jamie McShane as Fanning, the show's steely-eyed big bad.
The Passage is not quite as bubbly as some of the other bubble shows on the list. Ratings for Season 1 were not particularly impressive, but Fox seems to believe in the show. Showrunner Liz Heldens got a very lucrative deal before the show premiered, and the network gave the show a longer-than-usual development process as Heldens & Co. figured out its voice. But that was before Disney bought Fox, and what the relationship will be between the Disney-owned studio and the Fox Corporation-owned broadcast network as well as the kind of content each of them will focus on is still being worked out. The Passage could get lost in the shuffle.
Here's hoping it doesn't.
The Passage is available to stream on Hulu.