|Created by||Bragi F. Schut|
|Composer(s)||Pieter A. Schlosser|
|Country of origin|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||13|
|Running time||42 minutes|
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)|
|Original release||September 16, 2005 –|
February 1, 2006
Threshold is an American science fiction drama television series that first aired on CBS in September 2005. Produced by Brannon Braga, David S. Goyer and David Heyman, the series focuses on a secret government project investigating the first contact with an extraterrestrial species.
The series was first shown on Friday nights, but was moved to Tuesday in an effort to boost ratings. This plan backfired, with the show registering a sharp drop in its ratings on its first Tuesday night showing on November 22, 2005, and CBS canceled the series on November 23, 2005,with four episodes left unaired.
The remaining episodes were aired on Sky1, a channel in the United Kingdom owned by Sky, who co-produced the series with CBS. The entire series was released on DVD on August 22, 2006.
The series first aired on the Sci Fi Channel on Friday, October 13, 2006, at 10:00 pm, following a new episode of Battlestar Galactica .
The series stars Carla Gugino as Dr. Molly Caffrey, a high-level government crisis management consultant from the Blackwood Institute whose job is to create contingency plans for use in emergencies ranging from natural disasters to nuclear war. In order to have "all bases covered", one of her plans, code-named Threshold, is developed for dealing with the unlikely eventuality of first contact with aliens. One night, the crew of a U.S. naval vessel encounters a UFO. Many crew members subsequently die horribly, but some escape. After the ship is discovered with dead crew members and a videotape of the encounter, the Threshold protocol is activated.
Caffrey's Threshold plan calls for the formation of a secret government task force known as the Red Team. As a result, several top scientists are seconded: Dr. Nigel Fenway (Brent Spiner), an individualistic NASA-employed microbiologist; Lucas Pegg (Rob Benedict), a somewhat unsure-of-himself aerospace engineer on the eve of his marriage, and Arthur Ramsey (Peter Dinklage), a mathematics and linguistics genius with a penchant for unpredictability, alcohol and women. Caffrey's government liaison is Deputy National Security Advisor J.T. Baylock (Charles S. Dutton), while freelance paramilitary operative Sean Cavennaugh (Brian Van Holt) serves as the "muscle" of the group (and apparent potential love interest for Caffrey). Daphne Larson (Catherine Bell) was added to the team in the episode "Outbreak". Caffrey's team works under absolute secrecy, their activities not even known to the Vice-President, or the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Threshold learns that the aliens are attempting to rewrite the DNA of the human race using, in part, an audio signal that somehow alters some people's body chemistry in such a way that they become alien themselves. Central to all this is a fractal triskelion pattern that keeps appearing – in electronic signals, blood, and even the pattern made by city lights. Its significance has yet to be revealed, though Arthur Ramsey interpreted it as representing a DNA pattern in a triple helix formation (like the alien DNA).
The episodes focus on Caffrey and her team as they learn more about the signal, the fractal pattern, and the aliens. Often, their work requires them to impersonate different U.S. Government agencies. Compounding the situation, Caffrey, Cavennaugh and Pegg were exposed to a small part of the signal, which while not (as yet) infecting them, has nonetheless altered their brains, causing the trio to have bizarre, linked dreams, and also receive messages from the aliens with Caffrey, in particular, experiencing frightening, often violent hallucinations. Individuals experiencing these visions have been referred to as "dreamers" by the Threshold Red Team.
An ongoing subplot of the series is the emotional impact Threshold has on Caffrey herself, as she is required to make life-and-death decisions on an almost daily basis. The impact on other members of her team is also explored.
My name is Molly Caffrey, and I work for the Federal Government. I deal in worst-case scenarios, the unthinkable. On September 16th, 2005, the unthinkable happened. An extraterrestrial object appeared off the bow of a naval freighter. The entire crew was exposed to a high frequency signal. Some died instantly. Others began to change. They are now stronger, more resilient. They dream of alien landscapes. And they are driven by the impulse to infect others. Several of the crewmen are now loose in the United States. They will strike anytime, anyplace, anyone. Their goal: to turn us into them. But I have a plan to stop them. That plan is called "Threshold".
The monologue was used in episodes 1–9, but was dropped for the remaining episodes. It also was not used for any of the episodes in the DVD version.
Prior to Threshold's cancellation Brannon Braga announced that Catherine Bell would be joining the series, as would another actress, Jacqueline Kim, who would appear as Lucas's wife Rachel.In the unaired episode "Outbreak", Bell guest stars as Dr. Daphne Larson, a botanist brought in to examine the mutated vegetables from "Revelations". She is added as a new member to the Red Team, but except for being referenced by name in "Vigilante", made no further appearances on the series before it ended.
Episodes from "The Crossing" onwards saw their first broadcast on Sky1 in the UK.
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||Prod.|
|1||"Trees Made of Glass: Part 1"||David S. Goyer||Bragi F. Schut||September 16, 2005||101|
|Dr. Caffrey and her team must investigate a chilling situation on the U.S. Navy cargo freighter Big Horn, after its crew is terrorized by a signal from a mysterious craft that lands in the Atlantic Ocean.|
|2||"Trees Made of Glass: Part 2"||Peter Hyams||Bragi F. Schut & David S. Goyer||September 16, 2005||102|
|Caffrey and her team realize that the missing crew might not have perished, and in order to contain the situation they must find the crew and figure out what has affected them before it spreads to the rest of the population.|
|3||"Blood of the Children"||Bill Eagles||Anne McGrail||September 23, 2005||103|
|When the facilities manager of a military school goes on a rampage at a fast-food restaurant and is later found killed, Molly and Cavennaugh look to the military academy. After they observe some of the students acting strangely, Molly and her team discover that the facilities manager and some of the children have been exposed to the same signal that earlier terrorized the crew members of the Big Horn.|
|4||"The Burning"||John Showalter||Brannon Braga & Dan O'Shannon||September 30, 2005||104|
|A psychiatric patient has escaped from a hospital in Ohio and is suspected of killing one of the guards and taking an underwear-clad female hostage. When Caffrey and the Red Team discover that the patient has had strange dreams that drove him to his escape — the same dreams Caffrey, Cavennaugh and Pegg had after their encounter with the signal on the Big Horn — they realize this is not an ordinary missing-persons case.|
|5||"Shock"||Tim Matheson||André Bormanis||October 7, 2005||105|
|Caffrey and the Red Team head to Baltimore after one of the fugitive Big Horn crewmembers murders a policeman. After the fugitive escapes from the custody of Homeland Security agents, Pegg, Fenway and Ramsey discover that the fugitive may have access to technology that can emit the Big Horn signal to a large quantity of the population.|
|6||"Pulse"||Bill L. Norton||Mike Sussman||October 14, 2005||106|
|After it's discovered that the signal from the Big Horn made its way into a music mix at a Miami rave, Molly and the Red Team head to Florida to investigate whether any of the partygoers have been infected by the exposure and to track down the rave's D.J., who has gone missing after exhibiting bizarre behavior.|
|7||"The Order"||Norberto Barba||Anne McGrail||October 21, 2005||107|
|Dr. Caffrey has to deal with meddling from a senator who now insists on being included in the inner workings of the project. Meanwhile, residents of a small Rhode Island town call into a local radio station and complain that they're having dreams of "trees made of glass."|
|8||"Revelations"||Thomas J. Wright||Amy Berg & Andrew Colville||November 4, 2005||108|
|Caffrey and Cavennaugh investigate a Big Horn crewmember's hometown, where they encounter a local preacher who is captivating his parishioners with his visions of a "sea of glass" and an impending apocalypse. Meanwhile, when it's suspected that crystals formed on washed-up wreckage of the Big Horn are capable of spreading infection, Fenway, Pegg and Ramsey search the ocean floor to find the remaining pieces of the ship.|
|9||"Progeny"||David Jackson||Barbara Nance||November 22, 2005||109|
|Three affluent women within a five-mile radius exhibit bizarre behavior. When it's confirmed that they've all undergone the hallmarks of Big Horn infection — triple-helix mutation — Caffrey and the Red Team discover the disturbing common link between the three and must find the source before it spreads to anyone else.|
|10||"The Crossing"||Paul Shapiro||Bragi F. Schut||January 11, 2006||110|
|Caffrey and Baylock realize the Threshold detainees must be moved immediately to a more secure facility in West Virginia when a prisoner infects a security guard, breaks the infected prisoners out of their cells, and is recaptured. During the move, the convoy of prisoners is ambushed and almost lost. The team learns Manning is training a terrorist cell, and Lucas is confined to med lab with brain stem changes.|
|11||"Outbreak"||Felix Alcalá||Dan O'Shannon||January 18, 2006||111|
|Lucas is infected with the alien DNA from something he ate. The infectees have harvested crops with the alien DNA. Caffrey must find a way to stop what could be nearly 200 new infectees. Also, one of the aliens approaches her with an interesting revelation.|
|12||"Vigilante"||John Showalter||Mike Sussman||January 25, 2006||112|
|When a number of infectees and seemingly innocent people are killed, it becomes apparent that someone is going after people affected by the alien signal, and is locating them via their heightened brain waves. How is the killer linked to Big Horn crewman Manning, and does his method of finding his victims mean that Molly, Cavennaugh or Lucas could be next on his list?|
|13||"Alienville"||Oz Scott||Anne McGrail||February 1, 2006||113|
|Caffrey and Cavennaugh go out to a town called Allenville in search of a Doctor who they think is infected and find more than they were looking for. Meanwhile things at Threshold get heated with the pregnancy of the infected woman coming to an end.|
According to writer Brannon Braga on the 2006 DVD release, word that production of the series was being terminated was received midway through shooting of the episode "Alienville". The ending of the episode was changed to show Molly having a dream conversation with an alien-human baby (who had been born in the episode, but appeared in the dream as a nine-year-old boy). The boy tells Molly that her Threshold plan will eventually succeed in stopping the alien invasion (the age of the boy implies it will happen within nine years), but that she would herself "not be there" (i.e. die) before this happens.
When the show was moved to Tuesday, it was shown at the same time as the popular show Law and Order: SVU and one week had to also compete with the American Music Awards as well. This resulted in a ratings drop, which caused the show to be canceled.
The main threat of the series was sent to Earth by an Alien probe that infected the crew of the USNS Big Horn. The infection can be spread in a multitude of ways from bodily fluids to sound waves. Both humans and animals are susceptible to infection and is implied through the show the aliens wish to terraform the whole world to suit their needs. Even plants can be genetically modified to spread the alien DNA by consumption. Dr. Fenway discovered that pre-pubescent humans and animals are immune to the infection, apparently due to their stronger immune systems: as soon as humans are capable of reproducing, the alien infection can reproduce in them.
In the series, four variants were discovered to occur in humans who were exposed to the signal including:
In Episode 11, which was unaired in the US, one of the hybrids reveals that the aliens plan to save humankind by changing their DNA and the surface of the earth. This is because millennia ago, far out in space, two neutron stars collided, creating a gamma ray burst - the radiation of which is heading for Earth and will, when it arrives in six years, end all life on the surface of the planet. Because the revelation came from a hybrid, this explanation is considered suspect and that the hybrid's sole intention is to slow the Threshold program. NASA sends a Top Secret letter to Caffrey confirming the alien allegation about the cosmic radiation impact on Earth in 6 years. The text of that letter is below:
Dear Dr. Molly Anne Cafrey
In reply to your request for information at the following coordinates
Eight hours right ascension, thirty four degrees south declination
It has been confirmed that approximately 400,000 years ago two neutron stars collided at these coordinates, and the cosmic radiation that resulted from this collision is expected to affect the Earth in approximately six years.
Cosmic radiation is a collection of many types of radiation from many different types of sources. When people speak simply of "cosmic radiation" they are usually referring specifically to the cosmic microwave background radiation. This consists of very, very low energy photons [energy of about 2.75 Kelvin] whose spectrum is peaked in the microwave region and which are remnants from the time when the Universe was only about 200,000 years old. There are also very old remnant neutrinos in the cosmic radiations.
When these particles make it to earth, it will interact with our atmosphere. Our atmosphere is able to reflect small amounts of these particles and act as a "radiation shield". The amount of particles that will enter our atmosphere in six years as a result of this collision will most likely be more than our atmosphere will be able to protect us from. The Earth will be completely destroyed and all human life will be extinguished.
We thank you for your concern and interest and hope this information has been of help to you.
A featurette included on the August 2006 DVD release of the series confirmed a number of reported and rumored storylines that were planned had the series survived:
The episodes that were not aired by CBS also included several plot elements that would probably have been explored had the series continued: for example, Dr. Sloan, the so-called "Vigilante" introduced in the episode of the same name, whose self-appointed mission is to kill infectees (the episode also indicates a romantic attraction between him and Caffrey); the real nature of the gamma ray burst headed for Earth indicated in "The Crossing"; the effect of Threshold on Lucas Peggs' marriage; Cavanaugh's search for his brother (who becomes infected and provides the aliens with information about Threshold); the development of an alien infectee culture (who refer to themselves as "improved" humans) and their perception that the US government is persecuting them (an element introduced in the final episode, "Alienville"); and the aftermath of Caffrey's orders to increase Threshold's powers in "Outbreak".
Threshold was the first CBS television series to utilize "streaming video" to re-air new episodes after the original airdate. Each new episode was posted on the CBS website five days after its original airdate and remained accessible there for three days. Nancy Tellem, president of the CBS Paramount Network Television Entertainment Group, stated that "the goal here is to recruit new viewers to Threshold, help existing viewers catch up if they've missed some episodes and drive more traffic to CBS.com." Survivor and The Amazing Race both utilized a similar method for post-show interviews and discussions. The following television season (2006–07) CBS incorporated this concept into a streaming video area on their website called Innertube. Additionally, "Behind the scenes" video clips for Threshold were available on the site.
The show received generally favorable reviews from critics, and has a rating of 64/100 on metacritic.com based on 26 reviews. The best came from USA Today , who say "Convincingly smart, realistically unsettled and sexy as all get-out, Gugino radiates so much TV star power, it just might be visible from outer space." On the other end, the Philadelphia Inquirer says "There's nothing inviting about the ponderous Threshold. Portentous music plays. Scared smart guys, rounded up by the government to figure out what's really happening, say smart-guy stupid stuff."
Star Trek: Enterprise, titled simply Enterprise for its first two seasons, is an American science fiction television series created by Rick Berman and Brannon Braga. It originally aired from September 26, 2001, to May 13, 2005, on UPN, spanning 98 episodes across four seasons. The sixth series in the Star Trek franchise, it served as a prequel to Star Trek: The Original Series. The show is set in the 22nd century, a hundred years before the events of The Original Series and just prior to the formation of the United Federation of Planets. The series follows the adventures of the Enterprise, Earth's first starship capable of traveling at warp five, as it explores the galaxy and encounters various alien species.
Seven of Nine is a fictional character introduced in the American science fiction television series Star Trek: Voyager. Portrayed by Jeri Ryan, she is a former Borg drone who joins the crew of the Federation starship Voyager. Her full Borg designation is Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix Zero One. Her real name was known to her crewmates, but after joining the Voyager crew she chose to continue to be called Seven of Nine, though she allowed "Seven" to be used informally.
Dark Skies is an American UFO conspiracy theory-based sci-fi television series that debuted on NBC on September 21, 1996, and ended on May 31, 1997, and was later rerun by the Sci-Fi Channel. 18 episodes and a two-hour pilot episode were broadcast as a part of the Thrillogy block. The success of The X-Files on Fox proved there was an audience for science fiction shows, resulting in NBC commissioning this proposed competitor following a pitch from producers Bryce Zabel and Brent Friedman. Its tagline was "History as we know it is a lie."
Enterprise is a fictional spaceship that appears in the American science fiction television series Star Trek: Enterprise. It had the in-universe registration of NX-01 and appeared earlier in the franchise timeline than any other Starfleet ship named Enterprise.
Taken, also known as Steven Spielberg Presents Taken, is an American science fiction miniseries which first aired on the Sci-Fi Channel from December 2 to 13, 2002. Filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, it was written by Leslie Bohem, and directed by Breck Eisner, Félix Enríquez Alcalá, John Fawcett, Tobe Hooper, Jeremy Paul Kagan, Michael Katleman, Sergio Mimica-Gezzan, Bryan Spicer, Jeff Woolnough, and Thomas J. Wright. The executive producers were Leslie Bohem and Steven Spielberg.
War of the Worlds is a Canadian/American science-fiction television series that ran for two seasons, from October 7, 1988 to May 14, 1990. The series is a sequel to the 1953 film The War of the Worlds, a loose adaptation of the 1898 novel of the same title by H. G. Wells, using the same war machine designs and often incorporating aspects from the film, radio adaptation, and the original novel into its mythology.
Brannon Braga is an American television producer, director and screenwriter. Best known for his work in the Star Trek franchise, Braga was a key creative force behind three of the franchise's five modern series. He later became an executive producer and writer on several Fox shows including 24, Terra Nova, and The Orville. His film credits include Mission: Impossible 2, Star Trek Generations and Star Trek: First Contact.
"Regeneration" is the forty-ninth episode of the American science fiction television series Star Trek: Enterprise, the twenty-third episode of the second season. It first aired on May 7, 2003 on the UPN network in the United States. The episode was written by Mike Sussman and Phyllis Strong, and was directed by David Livingston. It was a follow-up to the feature film Star Trek: First Contact.
"Strange New World" is the fourth episode of the television series Star Trek: Enterprise and was written by Brannon Braga and Rick Berman. David Livingston served as director for the episode.
"Terra Nova" is the sixth episode of the television series Star Trek: Enterprise, and was written by Brannon Braga and Rick Berman. LeVar Burton served as director for the episode.
"In the Flesh" is the fourth episode of season five of the science fiction television series Star Trek: Voyager, the 98th episode overall. It originally aired on November 4, 1998. The story was written by Nick Sagan, son of astronomer Carl Sagan.
"The 37's" is the first episode of the second season, and seventeenth episode overall, of the American science fiction television series Star Trek: Voyager. Due to differing release schedules, it was also released as the final episode of the first season in other countries. The episode originally aired August 28, 1995, on the UPN network. Directed by James L. Conway, it was written by producers Jeri Taylor and Brannon Braga. It was originally intended to be a two-part episode to bridge between the first and second seasons, and was subsequently re-written to be a single part. Due to late changes to the final act of the episode, special effects shots of the settlers' cities could not be completed, with which Braga and series creator Michael Piller were unhappy.
The Syndicate is a "shadow government" group featured in The X-Files television show and feature film created by Chris Carter. They were also known as The Elders, The Consortium, and The Group. Because of their cover-up of extraterrestrial life, they were the primary antagonistic force opposing Dana Scully, Fox Mulder, John Doggett, and Monica Reyes during the series.
"Distant Origin" is the 65th episode of Star Trek: Voyager, the 23rd episode of the third season. Voyager encounters an alien race, but runs afoul of their principles. The Voth are humanoid lizards, and the plot revolves around one particular scientist who has taken an interest in studying Voth origins.
Alien Nation: Dark Horizon is a television film made as a continuation of the Alien Nation television series. Produced by the Fox Network, Alien Nation lasted a single season, ending in 1990 with a cliffhanger series finale. Dark Horizon was written to be the season opener for the second season, but when the series was unexpectedly canceled and looked like it might never return to television, the plot was published as a book. Finally, four years later, Alien Nation: Dark Horizon appeared as a television film to pick up where the television series left off.
"Night" is the 95th episode of the American syndicated science fiction television series Star Trek: Voyager, the first episode of the fifth season.
FlashForward is an American television series, adapted for television by Brannon Braga and David S. Goyer, which aired for one season on ABC between September 24, 2009, and May 27, 2010. It is based on the 1999 novel Flashforward by Canadian science fiction writer Robert J. Sawyer. The series revolves around the lives of several people as a mysterious event causes nearly everyone on the planet to simultaneously lose consciousness for two minutes and seventeen seconds on October 6, 2009. During this blackout, people see what appear to be visions of their lives on April 29, 2010, a global "flashforward" six months into the future.
The Colonists are an extraterrestrial species and are also the primary group of antagonists in the science fiction television show, The X-Files, as well as the first X-Files feature film. The mystery revolving around their identity and purpose is slowly revealed across the course of the series. In the series' plot, the Colonists are collaborating with a group of United States government officials known as the Syndicate in a plan to colonize the Earth, hence their name.
"Standing Up in the Milky Way" is the first aired episode of the American documentary television series Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey. It premiered on March 9, 2014, simultaneously on various Fox television networks, including National Geographic Channel, FX, Fox Life, and others. The episode is presented by the series host astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, directed by Brannon Braga, produced by Livia Hanich and Steven Holtzman, and written by Ann Druyan and Steven Soter.
"The Immortals" is the eleventh episode of the American documentary television series Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey. It premiered on May 18, 2014, on Fox, and aired on May 19, 2014, on National Geographic Channel. The episode was written by Ann Druyan and Steven Soter, and directed by Brannon Braga. The episode explores the possibility of the interstellar spread of life and possible alien encounters. The episode also presents the hypothesis of panspermia, where the origin of life is attributed to comets or asteroids carrying radiation-resistant organisms.