This alien-invasion drama got off to a fine start with a terrific 2-hour premiere. Friday night has long been a graveyard for dramas, especially SF dramas (the Sci-Fi Channel could run for a year on Fox's dead Friday night series alone), so this will probably either die quickly or eventually be moved to a different night.
Carla Gugino stars as Molly Caffrey, a "contingency analyst" whose job it is to prepare instructions for getting through various worst-case scenarios -- natural disasters, terrorist attacks, and such. She's summoned by the government and told that her "Threshold" scenario has come into play.
Threshold is a first-contact scenario, and Caffrey is ordered by the Deputy National Security Advisor (Charles S. Dutton) to assemble a "red team" of experts to investigate what appears to be the arrival of extraterrestrial intelligence. Caffrey's team: forensic biologist and former 60s radical Nigel Fenway (Brent Spiner), nervous young engineer Lucas Pegg (Rob Benedict), and womanizing, boozing linguist/mathematician Arthur Ramsey (Peter Dinklage), all of them under the protection of mysterious government agent Cavennaugh (Brian Van Holt).
The alien ship appears in the sky near a small Navy ship, and there are many mysteries for Caffrey and her team to solve. How did half of the crew compleletly disappear? What's happened to the only survivor found on board (William Mapother, even creepier here than he was in Lost last season)? Have the aliens infected the missing crew members (and maybe even some of Caffrey's team) somehow, and to what purpose?
There's always room for nervousness when a show sets up a large mystery; it's not easy to keep that kind of suspense going for very long without the audience feeling either cheated by the lack of answers (Lost, for instance, is teetering right of the edge of that pit), or disappointed by the answers when they are revealed. Further cause for worry is that the executive producer of Threshold is Brannon Braga, blamed by many fans for the decline of the Star Trek franchise during the Voyager and Enterprise years.
But boy, those first two hours were fun. The cast is solid (with the exception of Van Holt, who is stiff and awkward, and out of his league in this group); the characters, if still a bit thin at this early stage, have the potential to develop into interesting people; and the final image of the premiere is a nifty chiller. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.