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‘The Crossing’ review: Decent plot promising decent series

Jude Ellis and Emma Ren in the premiere

Jude Ellis and Emma Ren in the premiere of "The Crossing." Credit: ABC / Eike Schroter

THE SHOW “The Crossing”

WHEN | WHERE 10 p.m Monday on ABC/7

WHAT IT’S ABOUT Hundreds of people have washed up on a remote beach near a small town somewhere in the Pacific Northwest. Most have drowned, but there are 47 survivors and they have a story to tell. They say they’ve arrived from 180 years in the future to escape a holocaust at the hands of an evil Übermensch race known as Apex. Local sheriff Jude Ellis (Steve Zahn) and Homeland Security agent Emma Ren (Sandrine Holt) are — any guesses? — puzzled. But the survivors’ accounts share an unusual degree of specificity. Meanwhile, one of the survivors, Reece (Natalie Martinez), just wants to find her missing kid, Leah (Bailey Skodje).

MY SAY We’ve all seen the future of television which happens to be very much like the past — and, no, this isn’t another review of “Roseanne.” An overwhelming sense of déjà vu all over again floods our senses as we recline before our screens (nor is this a review of “Fuller House”). Not all that much is particularly new under the sun because not all that much particularly is. This era of Peak TV demands content and volume, some of that filtered through the past or nostalgia. It does not always demand the shock of the new. Shock is fine, just not too much shock.

“The Crossing” therefore is perfectly engineered for this moment. There’s nothing transgressive here, nothing particularly original either. It flows in and flows out, unburdened by any impulse to upset our equilibrium. TV-wise, it speaks our language, and we know how to converse with it, too. We’ve had a lot of practice, after all.

“The Crossing” comes from a subgenre within a genre known as “pre-apocalyptic,” where events that play out in present time are a prelude to the end times, in whatever form they may take. For example, “12 Monkeys,” both movie and series, is a quick if not quite parallel example, while Hulu’s “Hard Sun,” which just launched, is more recent. There’s also a genre within the subgenre here, too, in which mysterious visitors from the future (or past) are plopped into the present — think “The 4400” or “The Event.” “The 100,” which returns for a fifth season on April 24 on The CW, roughly fits in here as well.

Based on the pilot, which ABC has already screened online, “The Crossing” appears to get the formula exactly right. There’s a genetically altered mutant race from the future that has planted advance agents in the present. These mutants have cool powers, which is to say super ones. There’s potential — make that definite — romantic linkups between future people and present people. There are scattered current political-social references, too, because what’s the point of a time travel show if it can’t explore all the dopey stuff we do right now?

Next week’s episode, meanwhile, flashes forward. That’s an indication the series won’t play out entirely in a picturesque seaside town. (“The Crossing” was shot on Vancouver Island in British Columbia.)

“The Crossing” doesn’t so much as hint at any time travel paradox — or the quirkily inconvenient notion that time travelers will effect change in the future, possibly eradicating the time travelers themselves. That’s OK because if “The Crossing” survives, that’ll get a hearing, too. It always does.

BOTTOM LINE Decent pilot that promises a decent series — just not a particularly novel one.

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