New sci-fi drama ‘The Crossing’ shows promise, but don’t judge a show by its genre

“I refrain from using the word time travel. When you use time travel, it puts it automatically into some kind of genre, right?” Steve Zahn, the star of ABC’s latest show, said about “The Crossing” on Good Morning America earlier this week. “The pilot script was amazing. It was simple, simply about this small town and the stories of these refugees, that’s it, not a lot of crazy stuff. That’s what appealing to me. I asked [the writers], ‘Episode six, am I time-traveling to Gettysburg, because if I am then I’m out.’”

 

ABC’s new sci-fi drama premiered on Monday night. The premiere opened with a mysterious group of dead bodies, and some living, that washed ashore in a small town in Oregon. Zahn plays Jude Ellis, the town’s sheriff. He’s already stressed (we meet him practicing yoga) due to what appears to be recent marital issues, and these troubling events are trying for him. Federal agents come to investigate the unclear circumstances that have unfolded. Through a series of brief interviews with the survivors, the story starts to unfold: These people are refugees from a future America, escaping a war with a race of super-humans that doesn’t begin for 180 years. Something with their plan to escape must have gone wrong, resulting in their “crash-landing” in the ocean.

Actress Bailey Skodje, who plays Leah, is one of the youngest cast members yet delivers some of the most chilling and emotional lines of the show. Her mother, Reece, is played by Natalie Martinez (“CSI: NY,” “Secrets and Lies,” “Kingdom” and “APB”). Their separation from each other is one of the most pivotal plot-lines of the series thus far.

The show is a little too straightforward with the political messages. During an interrogation of one of the refugees, in order to get more information, a federal agent recounts her immigration to America as a little girl and arriving with “bad men.” Towards the end of the hour-long episode, we learn that there had been another group of people that time-traveled to the past before, and they are now living among the citizens of America with possibly immoral intentions. The present is also referred to by the refugees as the time of “long peace,” which seems a little ironic considering our current socio-political problems, but leads viewers to imagine the unthinkable in this war-torn future.

The cast, although relatively unknown, is very talented. Standouts include Simone Kessell as Rebecca, Sandrine Holt as Emma Ren, Marcuis Harris as Caleb and Luke Camilleri as Thomas.

I was a little skeptical when the group of refugees from the future seemed to fit right in with a complete understanding of present-day culture. One would imagine there would be a little more uncertainty and discomfort when traveling 180 years into the past. And speaking of skepticism, the government and the police had none. They took all of what these people said as truth and believed it fairly wholeheartedly, which is unusual in a sci-fi/time-travel trope show or movie.

The show ended on a lot of cliffhangers and left a lot of questions. “The Crossing” did a great job triggering emotions in viewers and including just enough mystery and drama to keep them watching. The previews for the season lead us to believe we will be seeing snapshots from this dystopian future, which could be the makings for a very interesting show. There are so many series out right now that focus on these futuristic, apocalyptic worlds, but very few mix them with our present, so “The Crossing” shows promise. “The Crossing” airs at 10 p.m. on ABC, after “American Idol.”

4/5


Julia Mancini is the associate life editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at julia.mancini@uconn.edu.