When I first read about the show, The Passage, all I noted down was “secret medical facility with experimental drugs and a reluctant guinea pig”. I was NOT expecting the reluctant guinea pig to be a child nor was I expecting the medication to be creating vampires with the goal of immunity to disease with no bloodlust side effects.
The opening episode shows Dr. Tim Fanning becoming infected while looking for some 250-year-old man in the jungle who turns out to be a vampire who bites him. Dr. Fanning survives but is now a vampire. More experiments follow on deathrow inmates, and with each successive trial, they make more progress, until they realize part of the success is the age of the guinea pig. Hence, their desire to get a child to test. Enter a little girl whose mother ODs, and two mercs are hired to transport her to the facility. Except the one lost his daughter three years before (circumstances not explained, but he blames himself) and he starts bonding with her. He’s not sure what the doctors do to the patients, but he’s pretty sure it’s not good, and he decides to go rogue and NOT deliver her to the medical facility. Meanwhile, back at the vampire bin, the vamps are starting to communicate telepathically with the people around them through their dreams.
Lots of creepiness, and I confess I have more interest in vamps and medicine than I do something like The Walking Dead, but it’s a similar zeitgeist. Lurking in the background of the story is a potential global pandemic, and the hope is this research of immunity to disease could save everyone, if they can just stop the vampirism from joining the host.
The show has a pretty large cast — at least three patients (the original doctor, a young woman, and a new recruit); three doctors (a friend of the first doctor, the chief researcher, and a young scientist); two or three security people (the head of security plus his friend, the merc who goes rogue); the girl that they want to use; and the rogue merc’s ex-wife. Of the ten, a good number have had small parts in lots of shows over the years, but few have made impressions.
The rogue’s wife, though, named Dr. Lila Kyle in the show, is played by Emmanuelle Chriqui. I couldn’t place her, partly as she looks normal in the show and when I last saw her, she was a whackjob named Lorelei on the Mentalist. Oddly enough, one of the other supports, the second doctor named Dr. Jonas Lear is played by Henry Ian Cusick and he was also on the Mentalist (as Tommy Volker) although most people would recognize him from Lost.
But of course the two main people are the little girl, Amy, and the ex-soldier-turned-mercenary/agent, Brad. Amy is played by Saniyya Sidney and she has a fair amount of poise in the show (hard to tell how old the character is, but she plays way older so suspect she is actually older than the character). But I was surprised by the agent, Brad. He’s played by Mark-Paul Gosselaar. I thought he was awesome in Pitch a couple of years ago as an aging ball-player; okay as Bash on Franklin & Bash; and I am in denial that he was ever Zack Morris on Saved by the Bell. He does a fantastic job here, and for him alone, I would love to predict renewal.
But any show that puts a child in danger to move their plot along is way too sketchy and desperate for me. I’m going to go with CANCELLATION, although I liked the first episode. Not enough for me to watch, but I liked it.