Tuesday, March 19, 2019

TV Tuesday: The Passage

At my house, we are BIG fans of Justin Cronin's trilogy that begins with The Passage. My husband has finished all three books, and my son and I have read the first two and plan to read the third (I'm thinking Big Book Summer Challenge). So, we were all very excited to hear it was being made into a TV show. My husband and I just finished watching season 1 of The Passage on Fox, and we loved it! It's not exactly like the book in every detail, but it sticks to the basic story and is really well-done. Whether you have read the books or not (though of course, I recommend that you do!), the TV show is riveting and quickly became our favorite show this winter.

Dr, Jonas Lear, played by Henry Ian Cusick, is desperate to find a cure for his wife Elizabeth's early-onset Alzheimer's disease. He and his best friend, a neurologist named Dr. Tim Fanning, played by Jamie McShane, travel to South America when they hear about a man who is immune to disease. What they find, though, is a monster who, when they try to capture him, bites Tim and passes his freaky condition onto the doctor. Now, Jonas has two goals: to cure his wife and his best friend. He establishes a team and gets funding from the DOD to find a way to control this strange virus that transforms its victims into blood-hungry but super-human creatures. When a bird flu pandemic breaks out in Asia, the pressure mounts to find a way to cure it using a version of this virus.

Brad Wolgast, played by Mark-Paul Gosselaar, is one of the FBI agents tasked with traveling around the country to pick up death row inmates with no families who have been chosen for the testing of this modified virus, to try to get the immunities it provides without the drastic side effects. Given the choice between execution or a "drug trial," eleven prisoners choose to travel with Brad and his partner to a secluded research facility in Colorado. When the bird flu worsens, the scientific team gets desperate and concludes that a child would be the perfect host for a virus with just the right characteristics. Brad is sent to pick up Amy Bellafonte, played by Saniyya Sidney, a 10-year old girl whose mother has just died. On the way back to Colorado, though, Brad realizes he can't deliver this innocent child to whatever horrible things are happening in the facility, and the two of them go on the run.

All of that happens in the first episode! I won't ruin the fun with any spoilers because this show is filled with twists and turns in every episode. It's an intriguing plot, and the show has plenty of suspense and fast-paced action, but the relationship between Brad and Amy is at the heart of it and what makes it so compelling. All of the actors do a great job in their roles and are a big part of what makes this show so good, but Gosselaar and Sidney, as Brad and Amy, keep you coming back. Little by little, through season one, you not only see what the scientists are doing but also get flashbacks on who each of the prisoners was before they arrived in Colorado, including what their lives were like and how they ended up in prison. They all develop some telepathic abilities and so begin to interact with the staff, even though they are kept in isolation. Just as in the books, the premise is original, clever, and thought-provoking. We watched the show as soon as it aired each week, On Demand, and it was our favorite of the dozen or so shows we kept up with this winter. Now, we can't wait for season 2!

The Passage has finished its first season, but all episodes are still available free On Demand, on the Fox website (though you might need to sign in with your cable provider's password to view some of the episodes) or on Amazon for $1.99 per episode and $18.99 for the season (so you could watch those episodes available free on the Fox site and buy the other episodes on Amazon, if you don't have cable).

Check out this trailer, then watch the first episode, and you'll be hooked, too:

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