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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Crossing is a sci-fi drama about a group of people who claim to be from a war-torn future America. The tone of this series is similar to Lost but it's not as bloody or violent. Still, we see many disconcerting, scary, and violent images: people floating in water as if dead; a mother drifting away in the water from her 8-year-old daughter; rows of hundreds of bodies wrapped in plastic; people who can perform superhuman stunts like jumping through windows many stories in the air. Government agents and criminals alike have guns and use them to threaten and sometimes shoot at each other. A character jokes about cocaine and drinking malt liquor as a teen. Some characters are romantically interested in each other; they may flirt, date, kiss. Language is infrequent, but expect to hear "hell," "damn," "ass," and "bitch." The cast is diverse, with women and people of color in strong roles; many characters are heroic but some are deceitful, power-hungry, and evil.
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What's the story?
When Port Canaan, Oregon, sheriff Jude Ellis (Steve Zahn) finds hundreds of people, dead and alive, washed up on the shores of his town's beach, he thinks there must have been a terrible accident at sea. But no, say the refugees (the ones who survived, anyway): They came through THE CROSSING, from an America 180 years in the future. There, genetically engineered people are part of a new race known as Apex, and ordered to systematically eliminate members of the Common class. Reece (Natalie Martinez) is an Apex who escaped the new America but became separated from her daughter, Leah (Bailey Skodje), during the passage. As she looks for her daughter, Jude and Department of Homeland Security officer Emma Ren (Sandrine Holt) search for the truth about why these people have traveled back in time -- and what they really want from us in the here and now.
Is it any good?
ABC has been trying to make an absorbing, big, creepy mystery series to rival Lost since that series went off the air, and with this intriguing sci-fi entry, it may have finally cracked the code. The Crossing doesn't have that overstuffed feeling that plagues many sci-fi series -- its central mystery is complex enough to be interesting, but simple enough that it (hopefully!) won't frustrate like the ultimately-too-much-to-tie-together Lost. The best sci-fi shows give viewers a new perspective not just on the future but on our present, and in the series' pilot, when we hear a survivor say that all of the time-refugees are in "The America of old in the Long Peace," it makes you consider how very comfortable it is to be watching an eerie show from the perspective of a cozy couch in a country without a military war in its borders.
It also doesn't sound too far out of the realm of possibility that future folk may have managed to create what sound like a bunch of X-Men, nor that the new and improved people might clash with their less-talented human cousins. And this show's cast, particularly the always lovable Zahn and the intense, steely-eyed Natalie Martinez, ably spins out the revelations about where the recently arrived refugees have been, and where they're going. Sci-fi fans and viewers who appreciate a good future-apocalyptic thriller are in luck.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about conflict and disaster, which are prominent themes in The Crossing. Is the show optimistic or pessimistic? Are the characters intended to be role models? Is this show attempting to send a message to its viewers? If so, what is it?
Children who have lost parents are common in TV and literature -- why? What dramatic possibilities might there be in a child who is missing one or both parents that wouldn't be there if a child lived with both parents? What adventures are possible when parents aren't present?
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