Shitty Science Fiction: Salvation

I watch a lot of science fiction. It’s one of my favorite genres and if you’re reading this it’s likely that it’s one of your favorites too. The problem is there’s a lot of shitty science fiction out there. So why not start a running blog bit about it, and see if even shitty sci-fi can be a thing worth watching? Lets find out… together.

Salvation is a TV show that sounded interesting when I first heard about it, and for some stupid reason I keep watching it, hoping that at some point it will make good on its premise. I honestly don’t know why I do this to myself, but it’s not the first show that I’ve done this with. I went through two seasons of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow before I managed to shake watching that thing. I just had to see if somehow it would hit a stride and redeem its terrible beginnings.

It did not.

Here’s Salvation’s concept: a massive asteroid is hurtling towards Earth, threatening absolute destruction of all life on the surface. The clock is ticking, since the asteroid is only six months away and there doesn’t appear to be any quick solution to the problem. I was looking forward to some sort of serialized version of Deep Impact, with a core cast wracking their brains trying to find a way to save humanity while the citizens of Earth come to terms with an impending demise.

Somehow the show has made it into season two without being cancelled, all the while doing everything it can to avoid focusing down on the problem of all humans dying. Here’s a short list of some of the things that eat up several precious episode of each season:

  • Shadow government trying to take over the presidency
  • Assassination attempts on the press secretary
  • A cop investigating the mysterious shooting death of his sister
  • A hacker group threatening the world with nuclear attack
  • Assassination attempts on the President
  • Miscellaneous American political drama akin to The West Wing
  • The President is missing!

Ugh.

No, seriously. There’s an asteroid coming and it’s going to kill everything and that’s treated like a minor subplot to the rest of this schlock.

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A scene from Salvation, with less than six months to go before everything on Earth DIES (Image from IMDB)

There’s something at the core of this that could have been interesting. There’s an Elon Musk knockoff working on an initiative to colonize Mars (because of course he is), and he’s working up solutions to try to divert the asteroid. The show might have been like a global version of Apollo 13, with some compelling science being applied to avert catastrophe. Even the hacking group plots might be interesting if it wasn’t so illogical: their goal is to save the world, but in a manner that is violently competitive with government-backed initiatives.

And hilariously the show can be almost self-aware of this at times, with characters basically uttering phrases like “I can’t believe we’re dealing with this when there’s an asteroid coming to kill us all.” I agree; taking over the presidency is stupid when everyone is about to become a smear of carbon in a less than a year’s time.

Please give this one a pass. However if, for some reason, you’ve been watching this and have found something interesting that’s kept you coming back, I’m curious what that is. Feel free to chime in below.