There has been a shroud of secrecy around 'Extant,' the sweeping science-fiction drama coming to CBS this summer. And now that Entertainment Weekly has the first trailer, maybe CBS was keeping it on the down low because women don't cotton to being regulated to the role of 'uterus with legs.'
The show is a vehicle for Halle Berry who stars as astronaut Molly Woods. Woods has been on a solo mission in space for thirteen months because I guess NASA decided the mental health afforded by regular human contact is apparently not important. Maybe if Woods wasn't so starved for human contact her illicit unprotected tryst resulting in humanity's new benevolent overlords wouldn't have sounded like such a good idea at the time. If Berry's character had a space BFF none of the shenanigans in this trailer would even be happening. Friends don't let friends get knocked up by hostile aliens. THANKS A LOT NASA.
Congratulations show creator Mickey Fisher, you've successfully given birth to 'Rosemary's Baby…IN SPAAAAAAAAACE!' Where do we even begin to unpack the subtext of this unsettling trend of casting women of color (and Kristen Stewart) into roles that force them to carry monstrous fetuses to term? Do the creators of things like this ever talk to a real living, breathing woman and posit the following question to her:
“So hey, if you were alone in space for over a year on a mission and saw 'something' and got home and you were pregnant with Space Jesus via immaculate conception and/or aliens, you'd keep it right?”
TRICK QUESTION. Of course don't ask any women that because they'd still be laughing so hard it'd have made national news as some sort of terrible 'giggle epidemic' sweeping the country.
But maybe this trailer is bait-and-switch? After all, the IMDB page talks about how Berry was infertile and her husband created their son using
magic science as the first Humanich – geshundtiht – or human/robot hybrid. So maybe this is really his story. Maybe Berry behaves like a normal human female and discovers she's been knocked up by an X-Files reject and demands they perform surgery immediately and remove this parasite for study. Maybe the alien/human DNA they extract is what will change human history as the medical community enters an arms race to better understand how to best utilized these miracle stem cells.
With Berry as an executive producer it would stoke the fires of hope if this show turns the 'All life if precious' trope on its head. Because women are not incubators. Say it with me now. Women are not incubators, or a single-minded walking uterus driven to PROCREATE like a Dalek with baby fever, or so compelled by maternal instinct that we'd allow an unknown foreign entity to percolate inside us with no concern as to self-preservation. You can do the 'aliens choose humans to host their eggs because reasons' well, as evidenced by 'Aliens,' but you have to have a delicate touch. Otherwise the theme can quickly veer from holding a mirror up to social mores to a bludgeoning tool to reinforce the idea women are of lesser value and as such cannot be trusted to make decisions about their own bodies, the poor dears.
Whether 'Extant' plays it straight or shatters plot expectations remains to be seen. All I know is a prime time friendly version of this scene better be in the pilot. Because 'Prometheus' got a lot of things wrong, but it got 'reaction to an alien parasite masquerading as a fetus' so, so right.