First Impression: The Crossing

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Geoff Harris

The Crossing (2018) is a new science fiction show on ABC. The premise follows a group of people, roughly 47 total, who all claim to be refugees from the future. In their time, humanity is subjugated by a new breed of genetically modified humans known as Apex. The Apex were created out of scientific advancements to eradicate diesel. They are stronger, faster, and have superior reflexes compared to the humans who had created them. Over an unspecified period, The Apex rose to power and began a campaign of oppression and genocide.  The initial number of refugees was 400. Only a small group survived the trip through time having arrived literally underwater off the coast of a small Pacific Northwestern fishing village. The FBI are called in and quickly take over dealing with these misplaced persons. They all share variations of the same story leading authorities to question whether these people are telling the truth of a future war and using a time machine, or some cult with a suicidal pact that failed. It is revealed towards the end of the first episode that an Apex also has traveled back with them, although separated and that this group was not the first to make the journey crossing time to the past.

I can’t but wonder where the “there” is in this show. Time Travel can be a powerful literary tool and it can be devastating if done incorrectly. You can easily write yourself into a corner with an impenetrable wall of crazy behind it. Too often I have seen stories go down this wormhole and eat themselves alive trying to deal with the never-ending parade of alternate takes on the trope. The Crossing is using it as a passive plot device. No real discussion about the how or why something has happened and now the story picks up with the after-effects. The notion that others have come before is bothersome because that opens a Pandora’s box of contradictions and alternate timelines. Personally, after LOST, I am gun shy with time travel stories. (Yes, even Dr. Who has started to cause a twitch in my eye.) The eugenics of the Apex just screams Space Seed, the classic episode of original Star Trek.

I generally give shows a short run, six or so episodes, before I decide to drop or continue them. Unlike LOST, The Crossing has presented a lot of information up front early on. I just don’t know where it can go as far as a continuing series. This is one of those ideas which works best as a short run or mini-series. Obviously, it’s creators presented the powers-that-be enough story juice to fuel a show otherwise it would not have been greenlit.  We shall see.

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