Salvation – Third Time Is Not the Charm!

Two summers ago, another network aired one season of a comedy about a guy who discovered a meteor was headed straight for Earth and would destroy it in six months – You, Me and the Apocalypse.

Last fall, another network aired a dramedy about a guy who discovers the Earth has six months until a meteor destroys it and decides to do all the things he always dreamed of doing, a journey that only grows more important when he falls in love – No Tomorrow.

Now that we’ve had a comedy and a dramedy on the subject of Earth-killing meteors, it’s only logical to assume someone would try the concept as a drama.

Salvation (Wednesdays, 9/8C) is a summer series about an MIT grad student who develops a program that shows Earth will be destroyed in six months but learns that the government already knows and has a plan to stop it. But they’re not being entirely forthcoming…

Liam Cole (Charlie Rowe, Red Band Society) is the MIT grad student whose algorithm shows a meteor striking Earth in 186 days. He discovers this when he receives an alert on his smartphone after having met (and bedded) a lovely young aspiring science fiction writer named Jillian (Jacqueline Byers, Roadies).

He takes his findings (and the work done to arrive at them) to Darius Tanz (Santiago Cabrera, The Musketeers, Big Little Lies), a billionaire tech whiz who doesn’t believe him at first, but gets on the horn to the Pentagon once he comes around.

His friend at the Pentagon turns out to be the Deputy Secretary of Defense, Harris Edwards (Ian Anthony Dale, Hawaii Five-0), who brings in Grace Barrows (Jennifer Finnigan, Better with You, Tyrant), a Pentagon PR chief.

Burrows gives Darius, Grace and Liam clearance to learn about the government’s plan to save the world. Darius and Liam recognize that it won’t work, and Darius asks Grace to help him with his own plan – building space arks.

Add to the mix Liam’s missing professor (Dennis Boutsikaris, Shameless, Quantico), Grace’s daughter Zoe (Rachel Drance), a Lois Lane wannabe named Amanda Charles (Shazi Raja, High Maintenance) and an inappropriate relationship between Grace and Burrows and you have a pretty well filled checklist of tropes.

Considering the urgency of the situation, Salvation does not quite fly by at a frenetic pace. Instead, we get to meet the main characters and learn a bit about them in and around the necessary exposition.

The problem is that this is all too familiar territory and not particularly deft, or fresh, in the way it’s handled.

The cast does well with what they’ve got, but what they’ve got is depressingly average – unlike both You, Me and the Apocalypse and No Tomorrow, both of which were better written and better at deconstructing this particular checklist of tropes in a fresh and unusual way.

Salvation, unfortunately, averages out to humdrum. There are better things to do with your time.

Final Grade: C