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Series: Threshold
Molly Caffrey: My name is Molly Caffrey, and I work for the Federal Government. I deal in worst-case scenarios, the unthinkable. On September 16th, 2005, the unthinkable happened. An extraterrestrial object appeared off the bow of a naval freighter. The entire crew was exposed to a high frequency signal. Some died instantly. Others began to change. They are now stronger, more resilient. They dream of alien landscapes. And they are driven by the impulse to infect others. Several of the crewmen are now loose in the United States. They will strike anytime, anyplace, anyone. Their goal: to turn us into them. But I have a plan to stop them. That plan is called "Threshold".

A short-lived Science Fiction show about a government project dealing with an alien threat to Earth - specifically, that of humans who have been exposed to an alien signal, gained superhuman strength as a result, and are now trying to infect others. The series ran for nine episodes in the fall of 2005 on CBS, before being cancelled after a timeslot change backfired. The remaining four episodes were aired in Britain, and eventually released on DVD.

The plot dealt with the government activating a contingency plan called "Threshold" to deal with a first contact scenario, the central element of which was the creation of a "red team" to run things. In addition to their efforts to contain the outbreak, the show also explored the impact the Threshold protocols had on the team.

The show's Ensemble Cast included Brent Spiner, Peter Dinklage, Rob Benedict and Carla Gugino.

This show provides examples of:

  • Alien Invasion: Type 2
  • The Alcoholic: Ramsey as shown in "Vigilante." Had the series continued, he would've eventually "hit bottom."
  • Anti-Hero: Doctor Sloan actively tries to kill the infected humans, who he can see thanks to his own infection. He does kill (or tries to kill) several innocent people in the process, but he was unaware that they were merely exposed to (not infected by) the aliens. He later tells Molly that Threshold is a sound idea, but going about things the wrong way.
  • Badass: Cavanaugh
  • Bittersweet Ending: "Alienville" ends the series with a dream/vision of Molly talking to a nine-year-old version of the recently born Half-Human Hybrid. It's revealed that Molly will be dead within nine years, but that Red Team will also ultimately prevail against the aliens.
  • Bald Black Leader Guy: J.T. Baylock
  • Broken Bird: Implied with Molly. When Cavanaugh asks what kind of person chooses to think of worst case scenarios for a living, she replies "The kind of person who lived through one."
  • Brown Note: The signal. It's effects vary. Best case scenario, you get superpowers. Worst case scenario well... let's just say that they're going to have to clean your brains off the walls.
  • Cain and Abel: Cavanaugh and his brother James, after James is infected. He goes on to lead the aliens.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Essentially Molly's job.
  • Cunning Linguist: Ramsey
  • Cursed with Awesome: According to Word of God, a proposed storyline would've revealed that Ramsey is immune to the alien infection because of the brain abnormality that made him a dwarf. This would've apparently been the real reason why he wasn't infected in "Vigilante."
    • Doctor Sloan was infected by the aliens, but only about half-way due to a genetic disorder. He has all the strength and durability of an infectee, and he can also "see" those that have been infected. Of course, as he was completely unaware of the alien threat, he was understandably disturbed by what was happening to and around him. It's also speculated that somehow, the compulsion to spread the infection got twisted into a compulsion to stop it.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Ramsey
  • Driven to Suicide: In "Outbreak," Lucas has a couple of dream-like visions involving a man from the 19th century. It turns out that this man encountered and fought the aliens in his time. He actually succeeded in defeating them, but because he was infected, he shot himself to ensure his victory.
  • Fanservice: The episode "The Burning" featured a pretty blonde woman who spent all her screen time in just her underwear.
  • Government Conspiracy: Threshold is the conspiracy.
  • Home Base: Threshold's headquarters looks like any other generic federal building.
    • Truth in Television: US intelligence agencies and other sensitive programs are generally run out of generic-looking office buildings (The NSA's Fort Meade complex, for example, which looks pretty much like a typical corporate headquarters).
    • For that matter, given that it wasn't custom-built for Threshold, it probably was a generic federal building.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: The Threshold team frequently violates civil liberties in order to fight the invasion. Especially disturbing is the indefinite detention of infected humans.
  • Impersonating an Officer: Threshold agents usually pretend to be working for a federal agency whose very existence isn't classified, most often the FBI or the Department of Agriculture. However, they have authorization to do this.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Ramsey has his moments.
  • Mama Bear: An infected woman breaks free of her previously unbreakable restraints when her newborn son is being taken away. She spends a good portion of the episode pursuing Lucas and Ramsey (who have the baby), smashing up everything in her path before being re-captured.
  • Motif: The triskelion symbol appears all over the place. It's not a case of Arc Words, as its significance is explained in the first episode as representing a triple helix, and its presence signifies a connection to the alien signal.
  • Mysterious Past: Cavanaugh. What records there are of his past are probably classified.
  • Name's the Same: The series has the same name as a Star Trek: Voyager episode written by this show's head writer, Brannon Braga. That episode was pretty much universally hated(including by Braga himself), and is the only episode of any Star Trek episode ever to be made Canon Discontinuity. Fortunately, this show was much better received(at least by people who knew about it).
  • Noodle Reports: It's stated that Threshold is one of three classified worst case scenario plans Molly has come with. Given this one is about an alien invasion, one wonders what the others are.
    • Also the worst-case scenario Molly lived through, probably related to her father's disappearance.
  • No Theme Tune
  • Odd Friendship: Lucas and Ramsey.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Averted. The original Threshold team contained three scientists. When infected tomatoes showed up, rather than expand Fenway's expertise, they recruited a botanist.
  • Pac Man Fever: Thoughtfully averted.
  • Patient Zero: The transformed survivors of the Bighorn crew.
  • Psychic Nosebleed
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: J.T. Baylock
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder: Done awesomely.
    Whitaker: (sarcastically) And how many people do you think you can pluck off the streets before people start noticing?
    Molly: (completely serious) Approximately 300.
  • Retool: mild retools triggered by the alien threat becoming public and eventually getting the upper hand were pre-planned for each season in a a projected three season arc. For season two, the series was to be renamed "Foothold", and for the third "Stranglehold".
  • Screwed by the Network: The network screwed the show over by switching it to a bad time slot and then cancelling it ONE DAY LATER.
  • Series Fauxnale: By the time "Alienville" was being filmed, production was informed of cancellation. The featured ending was created to provide a sense of closure.
  • Shout-Out: The bioformed plant life bears a very strong similarity to Tiberium, in appearance, behavior, and purpose.
  • Sinister Minister: Subverted in "Revelations".
  • Touched by Vorlons: Alien infectees gained superhuman strength, resilience, and the desire to infect others. Or they die.
  • Undercover as Lovers: Caffrey and Cavanaugh use this cover in "Alienville". They avoid the usual UST by retaining a good sense of humor about the whole thing.
  • The Virus: Notable for the many ways it can be spread.
  • We Are Everywhere
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Dr. Sloan, the eponymous "Vigilante"
    • Richard Tate as well, with the emphasis on "well-intentioned". After his family was infected by an alien artifact, he killed them and then buried the artifact. When Threshold tries to find it, he lied to them about its location in an attempt to make sure nobody else got hurt. He implemented a one-man Threshold protocol years before Molly ever wrote it.
  • Wham Episode: "Outbreak", which ups the number of infectees from a dozen to potentially hundreds.
  • What Could Have Been: after cancellation, details on a number of very ambitious future plotlines emerged.
  • Your Head Asplode: One possible reaction to the signal.
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