'The Passage' echoes 'The Vampire Diaries' and 'Stranger Things' but seems unlike anything you've seen on TV so far
Fox's new series 'The Passage' promises a fare unlike any vampire series or sci-fi shows you have seen till date
'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' established the cult of avid vampire lovers, and over two decades down the line, the 'Twilight' franchise as well as 'The Vampire Diaries' only proved that the favorite-fang is really a "thing" for many.
Meanwhile, another genre, sci-fi, was gradually gaining popularity. From the 90s 'X-Files' to 2016's major Netflix hit 'Stranger Things,' the genre has not only come a long way but has managed to intrigue viewers so much so that a sci-fi series rarely flops.
Fast forward to 2019, the new year promises a refreshing start for fans of both genres, with Fox's new series 'The Passage' promises a fare unlike any vampire series or sci-fi shows you have seen till date. It will be the best of both worlds, and the essence of others in between, telling the gripping tale of apocalypse and survival.
The show slated to air on January 14, 2019, is based on the best-selling book by Justin Cronin. It all starts in a post-apocalyptic world where 10‐year‐old Amy Bellanfonte, abandoned by her mother at the age of 6, is chosen to be a test subject for a deadly government experiment called Project Noah. The experiment is a secret involving a dangerous virus that could either make or break humanity. In the sense, it could either cure all diseases or wipe out the entire human race. So till about here, the story sounds like any other sci-fi series, depicting a secret government facility that is cruel and torturous, something which 'Stranger Things' has already showcased.
However, it's the virus that gives this one an unexpected turn. The virus in question is said to have been extracted from a rare species of South American bat, believed to be the source of the vampire legend. Its potential includes fighting all diseases and radically lengthening human life-span, which excites the military to create an army of super soldiers. You can think of it somewhere along the lines of 'Wolverine,' but instead of creating a hero, the experiment leads to a vampire-like outbreak, where bloodthirsty creatures are the triggering impending apocalypse.
The storyline to the premise comes when a federal agent, Brad Wolgast, is tasked with bringing or rather kidnapping the young Amy. But mid-way through the process, the agent has a change of heart and instead of submitting her to the authorities, he takes upon the role of her surrogate father, protecting her from all dangers while risking his own life.
The released trailer of the show also reveals that though the two are the chased, they end up becoming the chaser. Amy, addressed to be "the most important girl in the world," because in the series the major question is "how feasible is it to find a child?" "with no family?" the answer is exclusively Amy.
But then the journey of escape and survival also turns into a journey of self-discovery as Amy concludes in a trailer, "I wish I knew then what I know now... that they should be afraid of me," and we see the blood-sucking monster get thrown in the air. This moment somehow seems like the power of 'Eleven' from 'Stranger Things,' who possesses psychokinetic and telepathic abilities.
The mix of all these genres, added to the fact that vampires in the series aren't even good looking or hot, gives a hint that this will be unlike any other reigning supernatural show on TV.
The author of the book, Cronin, described the story to be "completely strange in such a great way," in a recent interview. "I’ve spent 10 years marinating with this material, in the background, with the idea that someday it will become a television show. … It’s marvelous and disorienting, and it’s deeply cool," he added.
While how much of the story remains true to the source is yet to be seen, showrunner Liz Heldens said in a press meet that they will be slowing down the story "a little bit so that you understand the good intentions and bad decisions that led to the end of the world as we know it."
'The Passage' has a complex storyline and there are time-jumps so the call for taking it slow was not only necessary but also a perfect fit for a TV series. The book was initially lined up to be made into a movie. In 2011, 'Felicity' co-creator Matt Reeves, was signed to direct, and a script was in the works. But since its a long arduous journey to translate a book to the screen, there was a major change of plan. "We kept trying to crack the story," Reeves said in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter. "It is not adaptable as a movie."
In 2016, Cronin announced that the planned movie was actually turning into a "major television event" through Fox studios, and he believed that television was the best-suited format for the story. This particular TV show had to undergo several changes, including refilming and recasting.
Going by the plot of the book, the story begins with the world on the verge of collapse, after an experiment gone-horribly-wrong leads to a vampire virus outbreak which rapidly depletes the human population. Then the scene transfers to the future where humans are huddled in random places avoiding dangers of the virus as well as those who turned into vampires. This scenes slightly echoes 2013's 'Warm Bodies,' where humans are avoiding zombies. However, 'The Passage,' has a genre of its own. Going by what we know so far, it's the supernatural and sci-fi coming together while narrating a heartwarming story of a father-daughter relationship. It sounds like another milestone of a series which may enable a new kind of cult following, just like 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' did.