Recommended TV: 'Surface' (2005)

Created by Jonas & Josh Pate; staring Lake Bell, Jay R Ferguson, Carter Jenkins and Ian Anthony Dale.

“When young oceanographer Laura Daughtery discovers a massive underwater creature, her obsession to uncover the origins of this dangerous ‘unidentified species’ will lead her and others on a mysterious adventure through the darkest, deepest parts of the sea and the most sinister and shady places on Earth. The fate of the world is in their hands – they just don’t know it.”

A cross between the outstanding mini-series ‘The Triangle’, and what ‘Invasion’ could have been if it had a plot… and sea monsters, ‘Surface’ is a monster show that unfortunately fell before it’s time.

The plot is complex. There’s strange creatures appearing in the water and their existence is threatening humanity and for some reason sinister forces will go to any lengths to stop the knowledge getting out. There’s a deeper conspiracy at the core though, as we find out about the mysterious Iderdex who may have discovered the origin of life on Earth and are using this knowledge to manipulate and create. Sinister things are definitely going on.

The plot come thick and fast as we are literally plunged to the depths of the ocean in the search for the truth. Oceanographer Laura Daughtery (Lake Bell, in a splendid although sometimes irritatingly ham performance) has her creditability slandered and her son threatened as Davis Lee (played by a sinister Ian Anthony Dale) pulls out all the stops to stop her finding out, but isn’t prepared for the consequences of Daughtery’s discoveries. Throw into the mix insurance salesman Rich Connelly who’s brother was killed by this mysterious creature (played very well by Jay R Ferguson) and has now become obsessed with finding it, he teams up with Daughtery and soon finds himself literally in the deep end.

Sometimes it is a little silly, the sub-plot with the fourteen year old Miles Bennett (excellently played by Carter Jenkins) raising one of the sea monsters and becoming changed by the experiences of life with ‘Nimrod’ can be hard to take but it brings comic relief, tension and further questions. When Laura, Rich and their friend Jackson (Austin Nichols) pretty much build a home-made submarine to take to the depths of the ocean, whilst wonderful and definitely makes you jump does require you to suspend some belief but this is science fiction who said everyone needs to be 100% scientific and accurate?

Jackson is another question, he mysteriously disappears but during the season finale when Rich finds himself at the centre of Iderdex’s operations, his photograph briefly appears on screen as a head of department. Has Jackson been working for Iderdex all along? Is his sudden disappearance from his boat, in the middle of the ocean because they found out he’d broken company policy… like “Mr Big” (played with a touch of brilliance by Martha Plimpton) has he been ‘terminated’?

The season finale is huge, with a tsunami of epic proportions hitting the East Coast and throwing our core cast of characters together in an unexpected way. It seems like the end of the world, or at least the end of what we know… it’s a changed world and we won’t get to find out because the powers that be cancelled it.

A definite watch, entertaining science fiction with sea monsters.

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(Incidentally, if you go to Amazon you’ll notice that ‘Surface’ has less than 3 stars, but if you read the comments the rating has nothing to do with the show but rather people complaining about the aspect ratio of the region 2 DVDs including a reviewer who gives it 1 star despite saying that it’s their all-time favourite show…!)


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