Surface (TV Series 2005–2006) Poster

(2005–2006)

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Involving Family Entertainment with Unsusual For Sci Fi Intelligent Women
noralee14 February 2006
The 15 episodes of the first, and I wouldn't be surprised only, season of "Surface" worked as involvingly as if it were a mini-series like "Taken." The executive producers, Jonas and Josh Pate, never seemed to be stalling or creating filler but had clear character and story lines and trajectories set from the beginning.

The production values, including of the sea monsters, were very high for a weekly series, so that even if the series is not renewed viewing the DVD as a whole will be very entertaining. An important element in its success was the filming locations in North Carolina which provided more visual variety than we usually see in most series which are routinely filmed on either an L. A. back lot and environs or in the Vancouver area.

While there were tips of the hat to many other sci fi movies and shows of the past (Jay Ferguson's "Rich" certainly seems similarly obsessed as Richard Dreyfuss in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind"; the daring duo's extreme adventures under the sea certainly seemed like a tribute to Jules Verne, let alone "The Abyss"; some sort of cryogenics facility seemed a lot like something we'd seen in "Coma;" their nemesis seemed to be borrowed from "The X Files," etc.) but it all came together freshly and with some unexpected twists.

Unusual for sci fi, the female roles were key and interesting. While I at first thought Lake Bell's "Dr. Laura Daughtery" was too young (not to mention impossibly gorgeous in a bathing suit) to be a marine biologist, over the first few episodes her threatened status as a newly minted PhD was dealt with spookily as part of the conspiracy to make her suspicious. Her scientific capabilities were always believable, even if her survival luck was amazing. I remained a little unclear about her personal time line of her life with her son, who she must have had when she was a teenager, and ex-husband (let alone the apparent ex-boyfriend "Jackson" who literally stuck out his neck for her). But her devotion to her son was a sweet recurring theme, even as she kept abandoning him to follow leads and escape henchmen.

Martha Plimpton had a delightful guest starring arc as a quirky, guilt-ridden scientist. And the teen age girls actually had brains and feelings. While the mom was clueless, so was the dad, amidst their extremely upper middle class lifestyle.

The relationships between the brainy females and their guys was always appealing, and their dialog sprightly. "Rich"s practical life skills as a fisherman and insurance agent, and brute physical force, were continually balancing "Laura"s scientific knowledge. I was very impressed that the series kept their relationship as a friendship with loyalty but no exaggerated sexual tension, as he is throughout a devoted family man to the wife and daughters he has had to leave behind on his quest, helping to make this appropriate family entertainment.

Teen Carter Jenkins' "Mile Barnett" was geekily adorable throughout, from his boyish loyalty to an unusual pet and his first crush on a girl who actually appreciates him, to his exploration, and finally embrace, of new found super powers. I particularly liked how the series helped him find his way through his volunteer work at the aquarium, which is shown as not just a commercial show but a serious scientific institution.

The story certainly capitalized on the world's recent experiences with natural disasters to believably surmise how people react, from prejudice to panic. A particularly effective episode incorporated MSNBC news and web coverage into the story line for a cynical commentary on old and new media.

Some of the travel times around the country seemed as unrealistic as in "Alias" as the central duo tracked down clues (and they seemed to get as much sleep as "Jack" in "24").

But the bringing together of the central characters and themes in the finale was convincing and exciting, even as it left open plenty of story lines for a network to capitalize on for a second season. NBC was smart to rerun episodes on the Sci Fi Channel and hopefully that could continue to build up interest in even short term renewal or mini-series conclusion.
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7/10
Started too big, ended too soon, got buried by suits
siderite10 August 2006
This is one of the better sci-fi series. It involves character development, a few really tensionate moments and reasonable episode scripts. As one other commentator said here, it looked as if it were a mini series, not a full blown series with filler episodes and low budgets.

The problem with the show, which in short is a Godzilla series, is that it started too big, with incredible monsters, fantastic science, then it all boiled down to local Americans doing stuff. Then, the show ended too soon, since the Olympics were coming and hey! a sci-fi show is a sci-fi show, but half naked athletic people running around aimlessly is much more important. So they only did 15 episodes instead of the expected 22. The audience was small, too, as people didn't really caught it on at 20:00. In the end the suits did it. Trust a marketing plan to destroy anything that looks remotely original and promising.

Conclusion: you have a show with good special effects, stuff like huge monsters killing people or destroying boats, then going into genetic engineering, transforming people, human clones, end of the world, tsunamis. Also, the only fillers are scenes with aggressive rednecks or other annoying people being killed for their stupidity. The down-side is that after 15 episodes that prepare something huge, the show ends. No real ending, no closure, just a bitter taste of cloth in one's mouth, as if you just swallowed a piece of suit.
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Comments on Surface
susanowens287 February 2006
I loved this series and hated to see it end. Why was it taken off the air? I don't understand why we get good series and they are removed, but we get junk on the air and they stay forever. Please advise. You can't leave us hanging like this!!!!!!! I looked forward to Monday nights so that we could gather around the TV as a family and watch the new stars that we had grown to feel personally involved with from week to week. We would always try to guess what would happen for the next weeks show. I would even have relatives call as soon as the show ended and discuss the plots each week. Can't you do something to help us out here!!!!!????? We really need to have a continuation of this series or make it into a movie to end it well. Think about it. We loved the characters as well. They were excellent in their parts.
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"Surface" (NBC)
sslau72925 October 2005
"Surface" is a hit in several arenas: sci-fi, drama, thriller. I would highly recommend this on-going NBC-TV film. All episodes to date follow one another into a kind of "soap" but differing from a soap opera by the drama & intrigue offered by it's main male actor, Carter Jenkins (protraying the character Miles).

While the basis for the show is an unknown sea creature which Miles raises from the egg, other characters hunt what could be its mother which tops the scale larger than a whale. This program will keep you glued to the screen and is entertaining for the entire family. NBC has a big hit with this show. Personally, I'm over 50 yrs of age and wouldn't miss it. How about you??
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Great Sci-Fi
Nightchild75 December 2005
Surface has the making of a potential classic on TV. It's not totally sci-fi. It's a family drama, mystery, fantasy, and horror. There are moments of humor, especially with the two teenage boys and the girl whose related to them and character development with great special effects and suspense. Lake Bell is good as the main protagonist trying to discover the mysterious creature's origins, but I think the producers should give the audience more of her. The supporting cast is good as well. The chemistry between the characters is engaging and sometimes heartfelt.

Surface is the best show that I have seen and I'm confident that it has the potential to be another sci-fi TV classic.
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Surface is the best of the new sci-fi/horror shows.
karpediem095 October 2005
http://www.tvsquad.com/2005/10/03/surface-episode-3/

Surface: Episode 3 Posted Oct 3, 2005, 9:34 PM ET by Bob Sassone Filed under: NBC, Sci-Fi/Horror, Surface

Maybe a giant fireball of an explosion in the poolhouse will convince Miles that keeping a weird sea creature as a secret pet isn't the best idea in the world. But somehow, I doubt it. I still think it's ridiculous. It's not cute, it's potentially deadly, so the only two outcomes that will be acceptable are, a.) the kid brings the little creature to the attention of Laura or Rich, or b.) the monster grows up fast and devours the entire family.

So while Miles and his buddy are trying to figure out how to feed and train the little creature, Rich goes back to work at his insurance job (wow, what a dreary office/small desk he has - he should just quit and hunt monsters full-time), and Laura is having her own problems at work and has to get a job as a waitress ($68 in tips for 12 hours work...not too good). The appearance of these monsters are affecting all the major characters, in big ways.

This is the best of the new sci-fi/horror shows. It's not as boring as Invasion; it has a better plot than Supernatural; it's not as goofy as Threshold (save for the little monster subplot), and it's not as awful as Night Stalker seems to be so far. I like how they have three different plots going (Laura's, Rich's, Miles) but they haven't brought them all together yet in some forced, let's save the Earth sort of way. This show is methodical, but never boring. It's majestic and epic when it has to be, but it's never over the top. It's the only show of this bunch where I can honestly say I look forward to seeing every week and that is leaving me guessing as to what exactly is going to happen and where they are going with the plot. The structure is smart, and I love how it ends with some big event (the giant monster eating the boat whole from below, tonight's Old Faithful exploding into fire and smoke).

I've stopped watching Invasion, and I'm going to watch Supernatural only because I'm reviewing it. The Night Stalker I'll watch for the same reason or until it's cancelled. Threshold is fun too so I'll keep watching that. But Surface is the one I'll buy on DVD, if it ever gets to that point.
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Finally A Good Sci-Fi Family Show
mbrinke230 September 2005
I believe this show has great potential. It's great to finally see a good family show that we can all watch together. NBC has not always been my in my top TV stations...But you now have my full attention! This show reminds me of some the shows that I use to watch when I was a child and now that I am a grandmother...IT'S Great to see the return of good TV. It has great suspense and action and the young man- Carter Jenkins- an Outstanding young actor. Where did you find him? He seems a natural and he seems to fit the show. I look forward to more challenges in the coming shows and agree it's up against some other great shows...But- if given the chance...it will survive. Great Show and Great "New" actor- Carter Jenkins. MLBrinke
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One of the best sci-fi shows at the moment
El Cubico11 January 2006
I have to admit that the acting and the CG special effects in Surface are both rather weak, but seriously this must be one of the best sci-fi shows at the moment. It's storyline is rather deep going, interesting, the character development is pretty nice, and since episode 1x12 it's got a very nice twist to it. Sure, it has its ridiculous moments as any other show has but after all it's quite captivating and always makes you wait for the next episode. Especially now that it's going towards the season finale things are getting more and more interesting.

Besides current shows like Supernatural with its magnificent cinematography and scary atmosphere or Threshhold which started out very well but ended in me cancelling it because of its ridiculous always-the-same per-episode story lines this show - Surface - must be on par with Stargate Atlantis. Both shows have weak CG and weak acting but in the end they got stuff to it that makes you really wanna see what's happening on next. And that - I say - is good entertainment.

I will review again after the season finale, but at the moment I can clearly recommend this show. Thumbs up!
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Don't watch this unless you want to become an addict!
ravenccs18 February 2006
I set my TV to record this show every week because I can't stand to miss an episode.

My husband and I are hopelessly addicted (and we take pride in the fact that there aren't many TV shows we like to watch).

My son, who is away at college, came home on a short break. I told him the main storyline, and let him watch the third from the last episode of the season. He made me promise to record the next two so that when he came home on his next break, he could watch the season finale. Needless to say, he is now an addict.

The choice of actors, how they mix, their acting ability, along with the storyline makes this series absolutely riveting! I feel like I know these people and I can't wait to find out what happens to them next.

I even love that computer animated little Nimrod. (Okay, he does remind me of our two 5 foot long iguanas, even though they are a lot friendlier than little Nim!)

I truly hope we do not have to wait a long time for next season to start. And I love that part of this show is filmed in Wilmington, NC. Isn't it beautiful!? (We live only two hours away and we love those beaches!)

I also hope that the writers don't change for next season. So many times, I'll like a show, and then the writers change, and I find I no longer have any reason to watch it.

Anyway.. This show is a 9.5! Great job!!!
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Stereotypes are sometimes truer than you may think, aka Who wants to be a Marine Biologist anyways!
Umbru7 November 2005
Warning: Spoilers
There are Many things that you could say about Surface, some would say it's a re hash of older material, and on the Surface it could easily seem that way, but if you were to actually watch it and pay attention you may be quite surprised by the Depth it can achieve.

Surface follows several different threads simultaneously.

The first thread is the single mother, sometimes more devoted to her work than her child, marine biologist. The cookie cutter part is how she worked her way through college and earned every damn merit she has and she's got a chip on her shoulder about it to boot (after all a female lead must be equal or superior to a male lead to attract the womens demographic in a modern dramatic series). What is not so normal is how she really is shown to not have the family values we all are used to, and the reasons she gets along with her child is how she spoils him whenever she can due to her feelings of abandonment due to her work. She feels Guilty! She of course is one of the few to make the initial discovery of a new aquatic mammal, that is larger than most species of whales.

The Second thread follows an Insurance Salesman from Louisiana who loves to go boating and spearfishing. Painted as a redneck at first he soon develops into an everyman who simply feels his life didn't go anywhere, and now that his brother died in an encounter with a monster that everyone says doesn't exist, he feels he has a destiny to fulfill in exposing these monsters. Against all odds he refuses to give in to his peers and loved ones. A character many who lead "Mundane" lives would empathize with quite strongly in his quest to prove to himself, as well as his loved ones he isn't crazy.

The Third thread follows a young man who, with friends boating at night, discovers a creature he can't explain. When he finds some odd looking aquatic Eggs floating in the area he saw the creature he takes one home, waiting ultimately till it hatches, then becoming attached to his odd creature/pet, and learning all about it's eccentricities along the way. The Child in all of us can easily understand the wonder and attachment this boy has with his creature.

The Fourth thread follows the reclusive scientist who has foreseen something of this nature happening for many years, and now feels the safety of the people of the world is in danger. And rightly so as we see these are gigantic, near unkillable, omnivorous, amphibious monsters of an unknown origin, possibly alien, that will eat humankind out of house and home, as well as disrupt the worlds ecosystem if left unchecked.

These plot threads thus far sometimes cross over, such as the government cover up that threatens the Lady Biologist and the Insurance salesman, orchestrated it seems by the reclusive scientist working for the government. But there is much more going on beneath the Surface than some are willing to wait to see.
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