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Extant returns for season two this summer with new faces in front of the camera (star Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and behind the camera (new showrunners Liz Kruger and Craig Shapiro). And those changes are just the beginning.
“There’s much more action,” Kruger told press Monday during CBS’ summer press day. “There’s action, there’s romance, there’s heat, sex.”
After premiering to lukewarm ratings last summer, the CBS sci-fi drama, starring Halle Berry as an astronaut who comes back from space mysteriously pregnant with an alien baby, is hoping a reboot will bring new eyes to the drama.
Several series regulars including Camryn Manheim and Goran Visnjic, who played Molly’s husband, will not be back full-time. Instead, Molly will cross paths with new figures like Morgan’s character, a cop of the future. “This very unlikely duo finds themselves locked together to solve this mystery that’s at the center of the show,” said Kruger, who said the character was written specifically for the actor.
Morgan hadn’t seen any of the first season when he signed on — which worked to his advantage. “They didn’t want me to watch them because it’s such a reboot this year,” said the actor.
Part of that reboot is also the addition of new showrunners Kruger and Shapiro (Necessary Roughness) who replaced executive producer Greg Walker. Working with creator and executive producer Mickey Fisher, the hope was to “reboot with a lot of energy, another self-contained story — build on season one, but make it in a way that anybody could come to this brand new,” said Fisher. “If you didn’t watch season one, you could drop in, and within a minute you could be watching season two and be up to speed and go along for the rollercoaster ride. I think we’ve done a great job of that.”
For all of the changes ahead, some of the show’s central questions will remain. After Molly’s robot son, Ethan (Pierce Gagnon), sacrificed himself to save her at the end of the first season, season two opens with Molly continuing to question humanity — only this time it’s from a recovery center affectionately dubbed “Crazy Acres” by the writers. “Molly is questioning her mental stability as is the audience,” Kruger said.
Added Fisher: “She’s a woman with nothing left to loose. She becomes aware of a string of mysterious deaths that might be tied to what happened to her in space. … She might just be crazy or she might be right.”
This time around, however, Molly not only has a robot son but also an alien baby to worry about. “What do they want, and is it true that this one woman could be the key to evolution? Would it be wise or smart or better if we coexisted in some way?” says Berry. “She’s got one foot in each world, and she has to sort of navigate her way through the process.”
Behind the scenes, “this year is indelibly better,” according to Berry. The Oscar winner said she was “over my head” during production on season one when she had to adjust to the fast pace of TV work. Although her workload has increased this season — she was promoted to executive producer for season two — Berry said she has enjoyed the collaboration. “The fun of that is I get to have a voice,” said Berry. “If I had any fear of television, it was that that the showrunners are God and you have to do exactly what they say. There’s no leeway in TV. Its much more rigid, but this year I don’t find that at all.”
Extant‘s new season premieres July 1 at 10 p.m. on CBS. Watch a preview for season two below:
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