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1[[quoteright:300:https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/151651max_620x600.png]]께-> '''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. [[TouchedByVorlons 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 "[[TitleDrop Threshold]]".께A [[ShortRunner short-lived]] ScienceFiction show about a government project dealing with an alien threat to Earth - specifically, that of humans who have been exposed to an alien signal, [[TouchedByVorlons 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 Creator/{{CBS}}, before being cancelled after a timeslot change backfired. The remaining four episodes were aired in Britain, and eventually released on DVD.께The 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.께The show's EnsembleCast included Creator/BrentSpiner, Creator/PeterDinklage, Creator/RobBenedict, and Creator/CarlaGugino.께----!!This show provides examples of:께* AlienInvasion: "Infiltration" variant.* TheAlcoholic: Ramsey as shown in "Vigilante." [[WhatCouldHaveBeen Had the series continued, he would've eventually "hit bottom."]]* AntiHero: 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.* ApocalypseHow: The team is trying to save the human species from the alien infiltration. But according to Manning, the invasion itself is to [[spoiler:protect humanity from a neutron star collision's [[WorldWreckingWave gamma ray burst]] arriving in 6 years,]] which would result in planetwide mass extinction.* ApocalypticLog: The video camera the team finds on the ship turns out to have caught the encounter with the alien vessel. Unfortunately, it also caught the alien signal and partially infects Molly, Cavanaugh, and Lucas.* ArtisticLicensePhysics and [[ArtisticLicenseBiology Biology]]: It's completely {{handwave}}d how a single audio signal could precisely rewrite the genes of any animal that hears it AND the programming of any microchip nearby.** Physics: A [[spoiler:city-wide "E-Bomb", or EMP generator,]] like the one in "Pulse" is not feasible with current technology.** Physics: NASA's FreezeFrameBonus letter says [[spoiler:the Earth will be "completely destroyed" by the incoming gamma ray burst]] which is a bit of an exaggeration.* BadNewsInAGoodWay: The letter [[spoiler:Caffrey gets from NASA calmly provides some background information about cosmic radiation, before mentioning that this particular gamma ray burst will "completely destroy"]] Earth. And then politely ends with "We thank you for your concern and interest and hope this information has been of help to you."* BaitAndSwitch: When a cop gets close to the case, Molly tells her she's going to explain exactly what's happening. A few scenes later, it turns out Molly sold the cop the story the team is tracking a pack of terrorists with a cutting-edge weapon.* BaldBlackLeaderGuy: J.T. Baylock* BittersweetEnding: "Alienville" ends the series with a dream/vision of Molly talking to a nine-year-old [[spoiler:version of the recently born HalfHumanHybrid. It's revealed that Molly will be dead within nine years, but that Red Team will also ultimately prevail against the aliens]].* BrokenBird: 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."* BrownNote: The signal. Its effects vary. Best case scenario, you get superpowers. Worst case scenario, they're going to have to [[YourHeadAsplode clean your brains off the walls]].* CainAndAbel: [[spoiler: Cavanaugh and his brother James, after James is infected. He goes on to lead the aliens]].* ContagiousAI: The recorded signal somehow starts to infect phones and [=PDAs=] nearby after it's played publicly in "Pulse", then spreads to credit card chips and [=ATMs=], as if it was an extremely adaptive computer virus.* CrazyPrepared: Essentially Molly's job.* CrystalLandscape: People infected by the alien signal tend to dream about a forest of glass trees. Later, one appears [[spoiler:to have grown up around the scuttled ship on the ocean floor]].* CunningLinguist: Ramsey* CursedWithAwesome: According to WordOfGod, 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.* DeadpanSnarker: Ramsey* DrivenToSuicide: 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. [[spoiler:He actually succeeded in defeating them, but because he was infected, he shot himself to ensure his victory.]]* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: Infectees had more seemingly supernatural powers in the pilot, like vanishing from enclosed spaces and other OffScreenTeleportation.* {{EMP}}: A possible countermeasure to the alien signal getting into digital media.-->'''Baylock''': What are we supposed to do? ''Nuke'' [[spoiler:Miami]]??-->'''Caffrey''': *{{beat}}* Something like that.* FanService: The episode "The Burning" featured a pretty blonde woman who spent all her screen time in just her underwear.* FreezeFrameBonus: The camerawork makes a point to leave NASA's response to Manning's game-changing claim in "Outbreak" as a {{Cliffhanger}}, but the entire text can be seen in the 1/4 second when Baylock first opens it. [[labelnote:Click for full text - SPOILERS!]]Dear Dr. Molly Anne Caffrey. -- In reply to your request for information at the following coordinates -- Eight hours right ascension, thirty four degrees south declination -- It has been confirmed that approximately 400,000 years ago two neutron stars collided at these coordinates, and the cosmic radiation that resulted from this collision is expected to affect the Earth in approximately 6 years. -- Cosmic radiation is a collection of many types of radiation from many different types of sources. When people speak simply of "cosmic radiation" they are usually referring specifically to the cosmic microwave background radiation. This consists of very, very low energy photons (energy of about 2.75 Kelvin) whose spectrum is peaked in the microwave region and which are remnants from the time when the universe was only about 200,000 years old. There are also very old remnant neutrinos in the cosmic radiations. -- When these particles make it to earth, it will interact with our atmosphere. Our atmosphere is able to reflect small amounts of these particles and act as a "radiation shield". The amount of particles that will enter our atmosphere in 6 years as a result of this collision will most likely be more than our atmosphere will be able to protect us from. The Earth will be completely destroyed and all human life will be extinguished. -- We thank you for your concern and interest and hope this information has been of help to you.[[/labelnote]]* GovernmentConspiracy: Threshold ''is'' the conspiracy.* HeroSecretService: While the team exists to go after alien threats, its members are generally under constant guard of some form or another, despite some of their protests about privacy and freedom.* HomeBase: Threshold's headquarters looks like any other generic federal building.** TruthInTelevision: 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.* HostileTerraforming: What the team concludes the alien signal is trying to do. They mainly call it "bioforming" when it seems to primarily affect people... [[spoiler:then other animals...and plants...and planks of wood...and finally actual terraforming via large-scale crystal growth.]]* IDidWhatIHadToDo: The Threshold team frequently violates civil liberties in order to fight the invasion. Especially disturbing is the indefinite detention of infected humans.* IdiotBall: Senator Tollman; see VillainBall below.* IgnoranceIsBliss: Molly convinces a cop that the team are just tracking terrorists, saying it's to keep their cover. But Fenway says he really did it so "that cop could actually sleep at night."* ImpersonatingAnOfficer: 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.* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Ramsey has his moments.* MamaBear: 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 ArcWords, as its significance is explained in the first episode as representing a triple helix, and its presence signifies a connection to the alien signal.* MysteriousPast: Cavanaugh. What records there are of his past are probably classified.* [[NoodleIncident 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.* NoThemeTune* ObstructiveBureaucrat:** Senator Tollman, who immediately wonders about the alien tech's implications for weapons research, allows himself to get played by infectees exploiting political sensibilities, and undermines operational security.** Ed Whitaker, who initially has a brief moment acting like a ReasonableAuthorityFigure but quickly starts issuing unreasonable orders seemingly just because he can. He even goes so far as to taunt Baylock for not doing as well navigating the administration's internal politics.* OddFriendship: Nerdy, awkward, earnest Lucas and sarcastic, cynical Ramsey.* OmnidisciplinaryScientist: Averted. The original Threshold team contained three scientists. When infected tomatoes showed up, rather than expand Fenway's expertise, they recruited a ''botanist''.* OutsideContextProblem: Caffrey's contingency plans exist to address events outside the context of normal government operations - or anyone in the country - or humanity. An insidious alien invasion is the one the team is tasked with.** Left as more of a GreaterScopeVillain, not addressed directly, is Manning's warning of an imminent [[spoiler:gamma ray burst from a pair of neutron stars which would trigger [[ApocalypseHow mass extinction]]]]. It's unclear if anyone is prepared to handle that, but Caffrey does have two other classified plans we haven't seen yet!* PacManFever: Thoughtfully averted.* PatientZero: The transformed survivors of the ''Bighorn'' crew.* PlugNPlayTechnology: More like ''Listen'' 'n' Play - the alien audio signal somehow is able to leap from an mp3 player to all kinds of [=PDAs=], phones, chips and [=ATM=] just by being played nearby.* PreviouslyOn: The opening voiceover serves this purpose while various episode clips are played to illustrate it. ''Usually'' the clips are from previous episodes and [[SpoilerOpening not the current one]].* PsychicNosebleed* ReasonableAuthorityFigure: J.T. Baylock. And his boss, National Security Advisor Andrea Hatten.* RhetoricalQuestionBlunder: Done ''awesomely''.-->'''Whitaker:''' ''(sarcastically)'' And how many people do you think you can pluck off the streets before people start noticing?-->'''Molly:''' ''(completely serious)'' [[CrazyPrepared 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".* RuleOfCool: Presumably the reason the triskelion motif shows up on nearly any electronic screen, doodled by new infectees, formed by groups of cockroaches or fish ''or city traffic'', and in blood on the floor. Unlike most other things related to the alien signal, the symbol itself doesn't seem to serve any purpose spreading the infection.* SeriesFauxnale: By the time "Alienville" was being filmed, production was informed of cancellation. The featured ending was created to provide a sense of closure.* ShoutOut: The bioformed plant life bears a very strong similarity to [[VideoGame/CommandAndConquer Tiberium]], in appearance, behavior, and [[spoiler:purpose]].* ShownTheirWork: Manning's claim about neutron stars [[spoiler:colliding to produce deadly gamma ray bursts that could threaten Earth]] is plausible and could be based on [[https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/swift/bursts/short_burst_oct5.html research published]] around the time of the show's run. A year earlier, [[https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/international-journal-of-astrobiology/article/did-a-gammaray-burst-initiate-the-late-ordovician-mass-extinction/F37A58C811EB82496CEF6CF989159807 another paper]] proposed that a [[spoiler:gamma ray burst could have caused the Late Ordovician Mass Extinction]]. Similarly, the general information on "cosmic radiation" in NASA's letter is accurate, although oddly Manning and the other half of the letter still use the term in a non-standard way despite knowing better.* SinisterMinister: Subverted in "Revelations".* SpottingTheThread: Molly discovers there may be an infectee on a plane and makes a call to try to stop them. [[spoiler:Her mentor Andrea]] says she'll keep an eye on the subject as they're on the same plane which the team is tracking. Molly is relieved...until she reports they're about to touch down in California. The problem is, Molly can clearly see the radar screen showing the plane is over Ohio. Molly realizes her contact, and probably everyone else on the plane, is now infected.* StatusQuoIsGod: Mostly averted, which is notable given that Brannon Braga's earlier show ''Series/StarTrekVoyager'' was accused of this. Some notable cases where it does appear are:** [[spoiler:Andrea's death]] prompts Caffrey to overwork in the next episode, but other than that we don't see much of an emotional impact. The replacement character does generate a brief storyline about friction with the team, but there still don't seem to be any long term changes.** "Outbreak" ends with a meeting where it's acknowledged that the threat is growing, and Threshold's ability to respond must grow as well, including the team members becoming leaders of entire departments. But the team size actually ''shrinks'' when Daphne Larson [[ChuckCunninghamSyndrome disappears]] for the final two episodes, and those shows themselves [[StrictlyFormula mostly follow the typical pattern]] of detecting a [[VillainOfTheWeek new infectee]], tracking them down, and stopping any threatening schemes they've set in motion.** Also in "Outbreak" is Manning's revelation about the aliens' motivations. It could completely change the goals of the whole project, but Caffrey and Baylock don't tell any of the rest of the team and it's never mentioned again.** The events in "Outbreak" didn't really get a chance to have their full impact due to the early cancellation not leaving time to pick up on the new threads (although they ''did'' have two episodes). Some of the threads that WOULD've brought significant changes are elaborated on in a DVD featurette.* TouchedByVorlons: Alien infectees gained superhuman strength, resilience, and the desire to infect others. Or they die.* TrackingChip: Every team member has one. Generally without being told until it comes up.* UndercoverAsLovers: Caffrey and Cavanaugh use this cover in "Alienville". They avoid the usual {{UST}} by retaining a good sense of humor about the whole thing.* TheVirus: Notable for the many ways it can be spread.* WeAreEverywhere* WellIntentionedExtremist** Dr. Sloan, the eponymous "Vigilante".** Richard Tate: 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.* WhamEpisode: "Outbreak", which ups the number of infectees from a dozen to potentially hundreds, AND reveals some of the aliens' true motivations in the form of an even greater threat.* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: ** The message from NASA confirming or denying the neutron star [[spoiler:collision, which Manning claimed would cause mass extinction in 6 years,]] is never revealed clearly or referred to again, although you can read it via FreezeFrameBonus.** Lucas dreams of a 19th century man who [[spoiler:fought the aliens]] in "Outbreak" and is very excited to pursue this as a potential ally. It is forgotten by the next episode.* VillainBall: Senator Tollman must be holding it when he blows straight past ObstructiveBureaucrat status and [[spoiler:steals one of the recordings of the alien signal, almost immediately triggering a new wave of infections starting with himself, and including National Security Advisor Andrea Hatten.]] Combined with IdiotBall since he had to have been briefed on the danger and almost certainly didn't want that outcome.* YouMakeMeSic: Larson's naivete about Threshold's extreme measures leads her to attempt to correct Ramsay's phrasing.-->'''Larson''': What's to stop me from leaving?-->'''Ramsay''': You have a [[TrackingChip chip]] in your shoulder.-->'''Larson''': Ah, it's [[ComicallyMissingThePoint "chip]] ''[[ComicallyMissingThePoint on]]'' [[ComicallyMissingThePoint my shoulder"]], Mr. Linguist.* YourHeadAsplode: One possible reaction to the signal.

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