I love sci-fi shows. When a new one pops up for the site, I’m always running to watch it as fast as possible because,
This week, among the moments I was screaming for everyone to watch Batwoman, another series slipped in and stole my heart a little.
Passage is a sci-fi/paranormal thriller, five episodes, produced by Representation Matters Productions in association with and being distributed by Tello Films. The premise is that the government has a secret division that handles paranormal activities. In that world, Agent Ali Prader (played by the sublime Shannan Leigh Reeve) has to balance her special abilities (she can talk to the paranormal) with the massive change in her personal life. Her wife Kate (the scene-stealing hero Nicole Pacent) has recently died.
Now with her new technician (a beautifully babbling Mandahla Rose, whom we are so happy to finally add to the site), Ali has to unravel a thread that could change the entire world.
Oh, and she can talk to the dead, so guess who’s around?
The cool thing about science fiction (and speculative fiction) is that when it comes to television, they can be more daring. Pansexuality, cross-species romance, and rebuilding your lost love as an android is all something perfectly normal on a show in space. But even then, queer women don’t fare any better on a spaceship than they do on Earth.
Finding a story made for and by queers, where there’s no plot point about the character being queer? Good luck. Heck, it took Star Trek until they got Tig Notaro in space to pull it off. It’s like the old adage: It can have queers, they can be happy, and the show is good. Pick two.
Passage managed to take a dead queer and deliver all three.
I have to detour for a moment and talk about my biggest bugaboo on any science show. From CSI to Supergirl, I get my panties in a twist over people screwing up science and technology. I shout a lot at the TV about how “That isn’t how it works!” whenever two people would use one keyboard to hack into a server (NCIS, I’m looking at you).
With sci-fi/paranormal, though, it’s a little different. I expect the world to be ‘not mine’ and therefore the science won’t be ‘real.’ So I never look at Star Trek and think “That’s not how it works.” Instead, I say “That’s not plausible.” Original Star Trek actually did it best, with simple, believable science. Don’t get me started about AIs though.
When I had the chance to talk to Mandahla Rose at ClexaCon 2019, she mentioned how hard the technology talk was. I am happy to tell you that not only did she not make it look forced, but she sold the science in every scene. I nodded and said to myself, “Yeah, that could be a thing.” and was not pulled out of the show to scream about bad science.
And that really brings it all home for me. Shannan’s Ali sells every second of the struggle of a widowed single parent, which is made ever harder by Nicole stealing every scene as the ghost-wife who wants Ali to move on with the cute nerd. The writing doesn’t have that overly prosaic exposition dump, making you feel like you stepped into a comfortable universe you already know. Capping it off, the cinematography and effects being everything together.
The series ends with a pearl-clutching cliffhanger that I can’t wait to see resolved. I won’t get passage until I see season two of Passage.