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TrekToday - Braga's 'Threshold' Has 9/11 Parallels

Braga's 'Threshold' Has 9/11 Parallels

By Michelle
June 21, 2005 - 10:33 PM

Though he denied creating intentional parallels with the events of September 11, 2001, former Star Trek: Enterprise executive producer Brannon Braga allowed that his new show Threshold makes use of ongoing public unease in the aftermath of those events.

"There's something in the blood right now," Braga told MediaWeek. "There can be no doubt that, even subconsciously, 9/11 is a thematic undercurrent in our show, for sure...[it] must be in the zeitgeist." The CBS series is about a group of government officials trying to stave off a possible attack from outer space while attempting to determine the extent to which it may have already begun.

Threshold, which features Brent Spiner (Data), is not the only fall show focusing on the idea of Americans facing nightmarish unknowns. In ABC's Invasion, a Florida community faces unexpected aftereffects from a hurricane, while in NBC's Fathom, scientists encounter mysterious beings from the abyss. "The media's motivation is to make prime-time hits," said broadcast negotiator John Rash. "But at a time of an undefined end to the war on terrorism...these shows may have tapped into the current American psyche."

CBS has created an official site for Threshold which has both a brief and an extended video preview for the series. "We've been waiting for a sign of alien life...the wait is over...you'll wish we were alone," announces the onscreen text while a scientist wonders, "Who are they? Why are they here?"

In the extended preview, a narrator says ominously, "An extraterrestrial ship has landed on Earth...now the government is calling in their top analyst." They summon Dr. Molly Anne Caffrey (Carla Gugino), called "the most important person on the planet", who declares after a crisis that leaves her bleeding that that they have just accomplished first task of Project Threshold: confirming extraterrestrial intelligence.

Spiner plays Nigel Fenway, a microbiologist described by Caffrey as former '60s radical who's "stubborn as hell." He discovers that a human affected by the aliens has had his blood cells altered and more - he can now survive being shot repeatedly - yet he is glad he was the only survivor of the first contact, because, he says, people weren't the same afterward.

A three-pronged symbol which recurs throughout the preview in cell structures and as a pattern formed by insects proves to be a graphic representation of alien biology. Although human DNA is based on a double helix, this life form's DNA is a triple helix.

Threshold will air on CBS on Friday nights this fall. In addition to Gugino and Spiner, it stars Charles S. Dutton, Brian Van Holt and Robert Patrick Benedict.

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