Starring: Lake Bell, Jay Ferguson, Carter Jenkins, Leighton Meester, Ian Anthony Dale, Louanne Cooper, Eddie Hassell, Ric Reitz, & Bobby Coleman
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars
Long before creating The Event, the Pate brothers had another show on network TV, Surface. The premise of the show was different and I think people really would have gotten into it if not for the way the show was presented.
All over the world, people are suddenly seeing sea monsters. The United States Government tries to cover it up, passing the creatures off as a hoax, but that's not good enough for marine biologist, Laura Daughtry (Lake Bell), who is almost killed by one on a deep sea expedition. Together with a scuba expert, who lost his brother, they investigate these creatures, and try to prove just how real they are. At the same time, a young boy in suburban North Carolina has discovered a baby sea monster and has decided to train it and keep it as a pet, leading to some pretty funny and outrageous moments.
The way this show was presented was really strange and problematic. For 12 episodes, the series just runs around in circles, with the group trying to prove the existence of the mysterious creatures, the government trying to cover up the creatures existence, and this young boy who has decided to keep one as a pet. It isn't until episode 13 where things finally start to take shape. It takes 13 episodes before we even learn about the vast conspiracy behind the whole thing and that's when things really get interesting.
The sea creatures and special effects were cool, but I'd imagine that most people got bored with it after a few episodes, the way I did. Why not bring in this mysterious group and conspiracy sooner and add a little intrigue to the show? If they had, maybe people would have seen Surface as something more than a badly scripted show, hiding behind it's special effects.
Lake Bell, an actress I've never really liked, stars as the marine biologist, and was beyond fantastic. This could have easily been a career defining role for her, had the show lasted. Bell is paired with former child star, Jay Ferguson, who I would have been fine with if not for his awful and completely annoying New Orleans accent. Finally, the cast is rounded out by young Carter Jenkins, a kid who has made somewhat of a name for himself. After the excitement of the sea creatures and special effects wore off, it was Jenkins antics with little nimrod that kept the show watchable. Jenkins was terrific and if it wasn't for this angle of the show, I probably wouldn't have even made it to 13 episodes.
Surface was a show with potential, but the writers waited far to long to release their bombshells and conspiracies, leading to an audience that tuned out after a couple of episodes. Thankfully, the Pate brothers learned from their mistakes and came back with The Event, a terrific show that gained a cult following. While The Event didn't make the cut either, it was certainly much more enjoyable than Surface ever was.