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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

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R.I.P. DEBRIS – My final thoughts on the NBC series

Ah DEBRIS, we hardly knew ye. DEBRIS was the kind of high concept science fiction show that all too often is canceled before its time. Sadly, my fears have come to pass as word came down that the show has indeed been cancelled. With the season, and the risk of spoilers, behind us I wanted to take one last look at a show that showed a lot of potential. Absent a streaming service hail mary pick up, it appears as if we won’t be getting answers to these questions unless I can track down the creatives behind the show for an interview.

What was Influx’s endgame? Debris’ biggest missed opportunity may have been its failure to establish Influx as a legit opposing force.  This had the makings of an interesting triangle, with Bryan and Finola working with and against Orbital with Influx pitted against both.  I always harbored a suspicion that Influx may have turned out to actually be the good guys since we know Orbital is kind of shady and making weapons with Debris, but the finale seemed to put that notion to rest.  The finale dropped some hints about human consciousness or something, but I’m not sure I have a clear picture of what Influx’s deal is.

Were there any lasting impacts of Bryan’s dimension hopping?  The episode where the underwater debris sent people to parallel dimensions had potential to create a Fringe like alternative universe, or at least change something notable and fun about the story universe.  I think having two different ways Maddox approached his wife’s lunch with the lawyer was a potential toe into this pool, but it was never fully explored.  I would have liked to see some of the other random partners again, or at least an ‘evil’ Bryan or Finola.  The Finola doppelganger flashed at the end may have been part of this.

John Noble? Speaking of FRINGE, the addition of John Noble’s Otto to the Influx team added so many possibilities that I can’t even list them.  hat was his power set (see the folded up people at the gas station)? What was he talking about when he met Bryan? What did he do to Bryan with his crazy hand above Bryan’s head move? Is he really a version of Walter Bishop from FRINGE? While the last one is asked in jest, there is a lot of potential to this character flashed in his minimal screen time.

What exactly happened to Bryan? Bryan’s flashback (well it wasn’t a true flashback but you know what I mean) episode gave some insight into his personality. But it didn’t fill in the most interesting elements of his past that are teased – the injury that led to his shots.

What’s up with that running smoky guy? Smoky isn’t the best description for the green amorphous man that showed up a few times but it is really hard to describe it. That’s what makes it so unsettling and interesting. Every time it appeared on screen, it got a little jump out of me.

Where did the debris come from? The Debris was an excellent macguffin for the series – it provided the thing Finola and Bryan had to look for and its varied powers provided the structure for each episode. But where did it come from? Aliens? The future? There were hints that it was part of some sort of ship, but that doesn’t tell us whose ship it was, why each piece has powers, and whether the debris was part of a bigger plan.

Russian interference? What happened to the Russian who Maddox traded pieces with and then kind of double-crossed? Did he kill her? Did they reach another deal? It kind of felt like a rushed way to show Maddox wasn’t really such a bad guy afterwards, but I’m wondering if that conversation was ever going to be followed up on.

What’s the deal with Maddox’s son? Speaking of the Russian, the whole Maddox is acting shady plot line was driven by his desire to help his son. We know there was an accident or something and his wife feels responsible. We know it turned out he was doing his shady stuff to get the pieces he needed to do something to allow his son to talk. Was there more planned for this arc? Is there a more interesting story to be told as to how they got in this situation?

Where are the Brits? The British government made a big effort to lure Finola back, using her sister as bait (sort of). Then Finola told them what the deal was going to be and they pretty much went away. What are they up to? Note: Finola’s sister was forgotten after she placed the call to lure Finola back to England. There’s some backstory there I’m sure, but I’m fine leaving that on the table for now.

What’s the deal with Brill? Sebastian Roche’s Brill is another perfectly mysterious character, made more tantalizing by his minimal screen time. His appearance in the finale teases a bigger role in all of this.  I want to know more!

What is that glowing ball? Honestly, this is the mystery I’m least worried about. But if I can get some details on what the glowing ball is all about, I’d take them.

Will we get answers to any of these questions? Probably not. Side note: If you are reading this and you were involved in the show, hit me up – I’d love to do an interview and share what was in store for DEBRIS fans.

It’s always tough when a smart sci-fi show is cancelled before it can find an audience. If you are willing to live with some unresolved mysteries, the series is still worth a watch on a streaming service – most episodes function very well as a ‘debris of the week’ even without focusing on the ongoing story so watching it isn’t necessarily a lost investment of time. The two leads are quite likeable and the show delivered some good (and creepy) special effects. I really liked the show, so now NBC owes me for two shows cancelled after one season – DEBRIS and SURFACE

Darren Shulman
Darren Shulman
Darren is a professional lawyer and amateur movie/comic/TV reviewer who is lucky enough to have found a wife who is into the same geeky things he is. Darren has been making the trip from Ohio to San Diego Comic-Con since 2009. Other interests include, in no particular order: monkeys, LEGO, dinosaurs, and playing basketball poorly.

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