NBC’s original sci-fi show “Debris” is nearing its Season 1 finale with just three episodes left and if you’re not already watching it, you ought to be.
For the first few episodes, a brief, pre-credit explanation is given to help establish some context for the story. “Three years ago, images were captured of a wrecked alien spacecraft moving through our solar system,” it says. “For the past six months, debris from that spacecraft has been falling to Earth.”
Two agents, one from the CIA and one from British Intelligence, work together and race to every report of a piece of debris landing in the continental United States. The thing is, every single piece of debris, no matter how large or small, creates super-weird events based on its extraterrestrial properties. For instance, in one episode, a piece lands in a small town in Middle America somewhere and everyone that touches it is instantly cloned. In another episode, the debris causes de-aging and in another, it creates a temporary out-of-phase dimension. It’s just like the show’s tagline says, “every piece holds the power to change our world.”
(There’s also a few mandatory mildly macabre fatalities associated with the debris, including one guy who teleports into solid concrete, a woman who falls 30 floors inside a hotel as she’s briefly able to pass through solid matter and some poor souls who have had the life literally sucked out of them.)
It soon unfolds into a slightly formulaic “X-Files“-esque sci-fi drama, almost as if the show’s creator, JH Wyman, said to himself, “Hey, I have a great idea here, now how do I make it into a TV show?” But that’s exactly why you should be watching it, because the basic premise is both clever and original. Yes, there are some run-of-the-mill plot threads, but the potential to take this idea to really interesting places exists more in this show than any other we’ve seen for a while.
Incidentally, Wyman has had other brilliant ideas; he was the creator of “Almost Human” — a incredibly imaginative sci-fi drama starring Karl Urban and Michael Ealy as a human cop and an android partner that was shortsightedly canceled by Fox after just one season in 2014. In our opinion, the premature abandonment of “Almost Human” is on par with the cancelation of “Firefly.”
“Debris” focuses on MI6 operative Finola Jones, played by Riann Steele and Special Agent Bryan Beneventi, played by Jonathan Tucker. Neither is a stranger to sci-fi, Steel appeared in “Doctor Who” alongside Matt Smith, “Ant-Man and the Wasp” and also “NCIS: New Orleans” alongside “Star Trek: Enterprise” veteran Scott Bakula. Beneventi appeared in seasons two and three of “Westworld” and has had a number of reoccurring roles in other, much better, television dramas, including “Snowfall” and “City on a Hill.”
Prior to “Debris” you might not have heard of either of them, but they are both quite heavyweight television actors, Tucker in particular, with impressive performances in shows like “Kingdom” and “Hannibal” and yes, that scar on his chin his real. He’s never actually confirmed exactly how that came about and speculation ranges from a motorcycle accident he had about 20 years ago to an injury he suffered while making the Netflix series “Kingdom,” where he played a ripped, rock-hard MMA fighter.
In addition to the story of the recovery of individual pieces of debris, the plot teases elements of massive international espionage, which of course there would be. The acquisition of alien technology could and would change the balance of power on the planet. Imagine if large pieces fell in Africa, which they almost certainly…