SALT LAKE CITY — BYUtv’s post-apocalyptic series about humans and aliens is a far cry from the Cold War-era “Granite Flats” that captivated audiences with its small town charm and schemes of espionage — but it’s compelling enough that it might just work.
“Extinct,” which premieres Sunday, Oct. 1, marks BYUtv’s second original scripted series. The show was created by “Ender’s Game” author Orson Scott Card and New York Times best-selling author Aaron Johnston.
The show picks up 400 years after the extinction of the human race, when a small group of humans are given the chance to restart their lives.
“Extinct” follows the journey of Ezra, Feena and Abram — Reborns who have been restored to the prime of their lives by an alien civilization called Originators. This requires significant adjustment for Abram, who was a grandfather when the alien invasion took place and wiped out human civilization.
The Originators, who want to restore the human race, reinstate the trio’s memories and alter their genes to increase chances of survival in the new environment. The aliens also inform the group that there’s a settlement with other Reborns not too far away.
As Ezra, Feena and Abram navigate their surroundings — a vast and picturesque desert landscape — and travel in search of the settlement, they come across the dangerous Skin Riders, reborn humans infected with a parasite. They also find remnants of their past, which trigger flashbacks to life before the invasion.
These flashbacks are a highlight in the pilot episode, which is a bit exposition-heavy and slow moving at times. The memories provide glimpses of Ezra’s (Chad Michael Collins) past, revealing some of his last moments with his wife, daughter and brother at the onset of the invasion. The possibility of his family being at the reborn settlement is also alluded to in the episode.
For Feena (Victoria Atkin), her life is an off-limits subject. She is visibly pained by a regrettable past and keeps an emotional distance from her two companions. In contrast to her rough-around-the-edges personality, Abram (Yorke Fryer) serves as a tender-hearted, grandfatherly figure for the group.
As the episode progresses, it becomes clear that while all three have specific skills that make them a compelling team, they are all also working to resolve conflicts from their pasts. As they travel to the reborn settlement, Ezra, Feena and Abram begin to grapple with themes and issues that should resonate well with a BYUtv audience: discovering personal worth, finding meaning in life, as well as contemplating whether or not their being brought back to life was purposeful or merely by chance.
There’s a lot to unpack in this pilot episode, making for uneven pacing at times, but intriguing backstories and a suspenseful ending leave many questions that will most likely be explored in future episodes, creating a thought provoking sci-fi show.
BYUtv will premiere the first two episodes of “Extinct” Oct. 1. After this premiere, the first eight episodes of the 10-episode season will be available on all BYUtv digital platforms, according to prnewswire.com. The show will air Sundays, at 7 p.m. MT, concluding with a two-hour finale on Nov. 19.
Content advisory: "Extinct" contains mild violence and no strong language or sexual content.