Mild spoilers for the series premiere for CBS' Salvation are below.
While CBS' biggest guns are fall favorites that have been around for many years, such as The Big Bang Theory and NCIS, the network has used recent summer seasons to test out shows that go against the traditional narrative grain. This week's big premiere, the sci-fi-tinged thriller drama Salvation, firmly fits that atypical mold with its impending asteroid concept. CinemaBlend recently had the pleasure of talking to co-creators Liz Kruger and Craig Shapiro, and they told me lots of reasons why Salvation is such a fun and different addition to CBS' lineup. According to Kruger:
Anybody who tuned into Salvation's premiere knows exactly what she's talking about. With a completely different outlook and tone than CBS' relatively recent quasi-apocalyptic drama Under the Dome, Salvation centers on a limited group of people who are clued in on the existence of an asteroid that is set to high-five the Earth in six months. Already not your average drama for any network series -- nor does it deliver the average pilot stumbles -- Salvation feels like a pretty sweet throwback to the high-octane doomsday flicks of the '90s, just injected with realistic characters and a more sensible planning structure.
Admittedly, I have zero clue where the actual line of realism is drawn here, at least as far as what real-world behavior and protocol would be, but the actors keep their performances close to the chest, without any hammy grandstanding. That speaks to both the smart writing and the acting, and both Liz Kruger and Craig Shapiro stressed how fully invested they are in Salvation as a character-driven show, as opposed to plot-driven (even with an asteroid coming), and how they strived to make the situations as relatable as possible, by getting audiences to think about how they would handle things in Grace's position, or in Liam's shoes. According to Shapiro:
To further separate Salvation from big Hollywood disaster flicks, this show doesn't seem to have anyone set for the Big Hero position, though Grace is obviously a frontrunner. Tanz seems just a little too off-kilter to wear the shining armor here. Kruger and Shapiro also talked with me about how the show looks at the idea of "villains," but that's for another day.
Something else that makes Salvation feel unique is that it's taking two of the U.S.' superpowers in terms of think tanks -- Washington D.C. and the private entrepreneur sector -- and creating a tag team out of them that asks viewers which side they'd put their faith in. And it turns out that's a question Liz Kruger and Craig Shapiro actually put forth to others when putting the show together.
It really is a perfect little breakdown for angles on tackling the question. (Or imperfect, all things considered.) But by the end of the episode, Jennifer Finnigan's Grace has assured Santiago Cabrera's Tanz that he will have full access to government resources to find a way to fix the asteroid issue, and if that fails, a way to expand his civilization-saving spacecraft so that many more people can be taken off this planet in order to colonize another one. But will the government actually do that? And will unlimited tools actually help Tanz save the day? Don't count on it happening immediately, in any case.