Shows: Threshold (CBS, 8 p.m. CDT Friday), Invasion (ABC, 9 p.m. Wednesday)
Genre: Alien invasion. Or is it?
Premiere episodes verdict: Threshold &&&, Invasion &&1/2
Neither of these alien shows delivered the rip-snorting thrill ride I'd hoped for, but I'll be checking out at least a few more episodes of each. Threshold titillated with its talk of chaos theory and that fractal pattern that looks like a crop circle. You know it's time to freak when you bleed crop circle patterns. The premise: Something crashes in the ocean with dire consequences for the occupants of a nearby ship, and a team of prodigies in various fields is brought in to size up the threat to mankind. The best bits revolve around the what-the-hell-is-it awe of the multi-dimensional thingy, captured on video, "folding in on itself." The sharp cast includes Star Trek's Data, Brent Spiner, as an eccentric doctor. With its isolated ship setting and shadowy government entity controlling national events, it's hard not to see a debt to The X-Files here. But this is a welcome effort from a network that, apart from CSI, seems to have an aversion to darker fare. Based on the premieres, Threshold gets a slight edge over Invasion, which finds a hurricane (!) with a little something extra blowing into Homestead, Fla. Like its hit lead-in, Lost, Invasion has a sweeping and stylish look that says quality, but, apart from the sequence in which the mysterious lights appear overhead, there wasn't much going on to build suspense. It did score chills with that image of a skeleton within a skeleton and the creepy moment when seven-year-old Rose Varon (charming Ariel Gade, who was the reason to see Dark Water) tells her mother, who washed up onshore during the storm, that she smells different. By half way through, I caught a strong whiff of boredom, but I'll hold my nose and give this one another look.
// Linkage //