lasted one season on NBC before cancellation, but Surface: The Complete Series
on DVD will keep the show's exciting, Spielbergian suspense around for a long while. The primetime drama, involving several characters--in different parts of the world--all having similar brushes with fantastic creatures, instantly draws comparisons to Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
Add a government conspiracy (complete with a cover story to force one community's evacuation) to prevent the public from learning of the existence of a previously unknown life form, and the parallels with Close Encounters
grow thick. But it's not a problem: the many twists and turns in Surface's far-ranging storyline, and the nature of the species that slowly becomes a factor in the survival of the human race, are compelling on their own terms.
Created by twin brothers and television writers-producers-directors Josh and Jonas Pate (L.A. Dragnet), Surface stars rangy beauty Lake Bell as oceanographer and single mom Dr. Laura "Dee" Daughtery. While doing some research in a submersible at the bottom of the sea, Dee discovers a seemingly bottomless pit leading to astonishing depths in the Earth. But she also bumps into a sea monster that emanates electrical charges strong enough to wreak havoc with her vessel. Meanwhile, a Louisiana-based insurance salesman, Rich (Jay R. Ferguson), is traumatized when he sees his brother dragged away by a similar creature, and a 14-year-old boy, Miles (Carter Jenkins), raises one of the beasts after it hatches from an egg. Throughout all this, a scientist (Rade Sherbedgia) and a heavy-handed national security agent (Ian Anthony Dale) are trying to unlock the mystery of the species, which appears to be growing in number at the same time strange forces are affecting the oceans. Naturally, there's a story behind the story--government and corporate shenanigans and all that. That stuff gets a little tedious and, truth be told, a couple of the show's protagonists are among the most unlikable people seen in series television in a long while. But despite its premature end after a mere 15 episodes, Surface finally offers an original, unsettling, and even surreal vision of the world going through apocalyptic transformations. The final image of the final show lingers in the imagination a long time. --Tom Keogh
Jay R. Ferguson, Lake Bell, Carter Jenkins, Leighton MeesterDirectors: Felix Enriques Alcala