"Extant": 5 things to know about Halle Berry's sci-fi show

Halle Berry as Molly Woods in a scene from "Extant." CBS

Summer TV is heading to space -- creepy, mysterious space -- with the premiere of Halle Berry's new series "Extant."

The show, which premieres Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET on CBS, stars Berry as an astronaut adjusting back to life on Earth with her husband and son after a 13-month solo mission in outer space. But something strange happened while she was up there -- and now, somehow, she's three months pregnant.

That's just one of the twists that viewers will get to unravel over the course of the 13-episode season. And, having seen the premiere, we've got five things viewers should know before they settle in for the show's liftoff. [Warning: Some minor spoilers ahead.]

1. Halle Berry isn't the only big star on board. Does the name Steven Spielberg ring a bell? When it comes to sci-fi, the Hollywood filmmaker knows his stuff -- see "E.T.," "Jurassic Park," "War of the Worlds" and "Minority Report," to name a few. Spielberg is an executive producer on "Extant" through his Amblin Entertainment production company (which also has a hand in CBS' other summer sci-fi series, "Under the Dome").

2. The show stays grounded (mostly). Though the central mystery stems from above -- what happened to Molly Woods (Berry) on that spaceship? -- most of the action in the premiere episode takes place down on Earth, as she returns to life with her scientist husband, John (Goran Visnjic), their son, Ethan (Pierce Gagnon), and her work at a private-sector space exploration company.

We do get flashbacks of Molly on the ship, including one where she sees...something (or is it someone?). And then there's the question of what happened during a 13-hour gap in the surveillance tapes...

3. Keep an eye on the show's technology -- and the debates about it. "Extant" is set in an unspecified future with lots of gizmos and gadgets (don't be surprised if you find yourself coveting the high-tech trash can), but the most intriguing piece of technology is Ethan, Molly and John's son. Yes, the little guy is a robot -- or a "humanic," a prototype for a new, artificially intelligent being that John created but also loves as if he was their own flesh and blood.

Ethan brings up questions on multiple fronts -- from the potential donors for John's work who ask these beings could rise up and overtake humans, and also from Molly, who seems more conflicted about raising a robot child than her husband and also sees a different, potentially more sinister side of the boy.

4. Earth's got some mysteries, too. How Molly Woods ended up pregnant while alone in space isn't the only mystery that needs unraveling on "Extant." There are other players -- Woods' bosses at the International Space Exploration Agency (one of whom is played by Michael O'Neill, who had a villainous role on A&E's "Bates Motel") seem to have their own agendas, as does a man interested in funding John's humanics project. And then there's the question of what happened to two of Woods' former astronaut colleagues.

5. So, what really happened up there? They're not telling -- yet. Berry says we'll have to wait to find out just how Molly became pregnant. "That's gonna be really interesting as that storyline unfolds, what actually happened in space," Berry said during an appearance Tuesday on "CBS This Morning."

"You find out, but slowly," she added. "It's very mysterious, very suspenseful and there are many twists and turns along the way getting to that result of what actually happened."

Tell us: Will you be tuning in for "Extant"?

  • Jessica Derschowitz

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