Bordering on the Verge of the Boundary at the Edge of the Threshold

So, I'm feeling bad.

You see, I am awash in an almost absurd sense of glee at the fact that Braga's Threshold (think X-Files meets Lost)is getting crapped on by reviewers. But it's not just any sort of crap. It's just the same sort of turds that were dropped on Braga's outings in Voyager and Enterprise.

The Futon Critic, for instance, notes that "thanks to the miracle of technobabble", it's discovered that a weird alien sound is a transmission capable of altering DNA, even if you only hear the sound via a camcorder's recording of it. (So what's next, aliens can call you and alter your DNA? Do you have any idea how absurd that is?)

Hmm . . . crappy sci-fi ideas not based on a respect for and grasp of science, but merely an amalgam of scientific terms thrown together in a hodge-podge of nonsense? Yep, that's Brannon Braga alright.

Oh, but it gets better. Regarding the actors, "none of them can escape the predictable, half-baked plot or their vanilla characterizations". Wait, wait . . .is this guy talking about the new show or one of Braga's episodes from the first couple of seasons of Enterprise? Hard to tell, innit?

And, of course, there's the final crowning commentary as the fellow whizzes all over the whole thing:

If anything "Threshold" feels like your average Saturday night B-movie on the Sci Fi Channel, except with better casting (Carla Gugino instead of Stacy Haiduk, Brian Van Holt instead of David Keith, etc. - you get the picture). Coincidentally enough, there was a 2003 Sci Fi Channel original also entitled "Threshold" which the network's press materials described as: "An astronaut returns to Earth, unknowingly carrying the DNA of an insectoid extraterrestrial life — which soon infects others, turning them monstrous. When their numbers reach threshold, they will swarm ... and you will either live in fear, or be the fear. Nicholas Lea (The X-Files) and Jamie Luner (Profiler) star." Basically, it's not exactly a ringing endorsement when a Sci Fi Channel Saturday original beat you to the punch with such similarly hokey material (except the infected people don't turn into bugs). In terms of execution, it's equally as predictable as you can see all the twists coming, including the fade out "surprise" which comes off as eye-rolling instead of shocking. And in terms of characterization, we're given few windows into each character's lives except for Dr. Caffrey who because of her hectic work schedule is (brace yourself) prone to eating meals alone with her dog. Overall, there's nothing here you haven't seen before and done much better elsewhere. Out of all the supernatural newcomers this season, "Threshold" is by far the worst.

Ah . . . wonderful. That's right, folks . . . let's let everyone acknowledge that Braga is a hack who shouldn't be writing for the Home Shopping Network, much less anything prime-time.

(The only reason they let him near Mission: Impossible 2 is because Ron Moore (now of BSG) was keeping him in check, siphoning Braga's brain for absurd shit he'd have never thought of, which he could then recreate into rational plot elements. This, of course, was their arrangement when they were a Trek team, too.)

Of course, I'm sure that a string of Braga failures would not make the powers that be go "heeeyyyy, waitaminute! Weren't we letting this hack run Trek? Maybe that was the problem!" Nonetheless, such a thing can only serve as vindication to the Trek fans who wanted more Trek but were forced to watch Braga-Trek and have their brain cells commit suicide.


But, as noted, I'm feeling bad. You see, there's collateral damage to Braga's suck factor. Mike Sussman and some other Trek-related folks ended up following Braga to Threshold, meaning that the more it sucks the less chance they have of being employed . . . again. While some could argue that this was their own silly mistake (after all, Manny Coto is now doing one of the highest-rated shows on TV, 24), the fact remains that there are some good people who don't deserve to suffer from gleeful anti-Braga fervor.

However, after careful consideration, in my opinion Threshold should burn anyway, 'cause as far as I'm concerned Braga only took the good people there so that they could serve as Iraqi-style human shields.

I don't negotiate with artistic terrorists.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The idea that people who hear some alien sound or watch those aliens become alien themselves, doen't belong to Braga. This idea was created in the short story "The White Stick of Caliber 7,62" and which I consider one of the best short stories I've read.

The Idiocy Award, however still belongs to Braga, for his "Macrocosm" (Voy) with 1 m Big, HOVERING IN THE AIR VIRUSES(!!)