Summer used to be a quiet time for television. But these days the networks are hauling out more and more new scripted shows.
Some of them are castoffs the networks felt weren't good enough to make the fall schedule. But some of them are so good they maybe should have gotten a longer look for a fall slot. CBS' new thriller, "Salvation," definitely falls into the latter category with a solid pilot that hooked me within the first 15 minutes.
"Salvation" stars Charlie Rowe as Liam Cole, an MIT grad student, who, on the night he meets the girl of his dreams, discovers an asteroid is just six months away from colliding with Earth. He takes that information to tech superstar Darius Tanz (Santiago Cabrera) who immediately takes Liam to Washington, D.C., to confront the deputy secretary of defense, Harris Edwards (Ian Anthony Dale), over what he knows.
Turns out Harris knows a lot, which is a surprise to his girlfriend Grace (Jennifer Finnigan), the Pentagon spokesperson. Harris assures her and Darius the Pentagon has a plan, but Darius is unsure and decides he needs to create his own plan. And he tries to convince Grace to become a part of it. Meanwhile, Liam must decide whether to help Darius or live his life to the fullest in case he really only has six months left. Plus, there's the possibility they could all be in danger as people who know about the asteroid keep disappearing.
"Salvation" comes from Liz Kruger and Craig Shapiro, the showrunners of the second season of Ironton native Mickey Fisher's sci-fi drama, "Extant." This one definitely has that same great feel as it wastes zero time getting started and beautifully ratchets up the drama over the entire 60 minutes of the pilot. The character development is extremely solid - especially Grace as she struggles with trying to keep her daughter safe while keeping the information about the asteroid from her daughter and the rest of the public. I'm a big fan of Finnigan, so it's great to see her in such a meaty role as Grace also finds herself conflicted about Harris and whether he's telling her the entire truth.
But Finnigan is not the only well-cast person here as Dale is excellent as the somewhat shady Harris, and Cole and Cabrera have a "The Social Network" vibe going for them that works really well.
"Salvation" may be a summer series, but it is definitely no castoff as it promises to take us on a pretty intense thrill ride that will save us from any possibility of a quiet summer of television.
"Salvation" premieres at 9 p.m. Wednesday, July 12, on CBS.
Angela Henderson-Bentley writes about television for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact her at email@example.com.