CBS' "Salvation" rescues the world from a planet-killing asteroid hurtling toward Earth

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11 July 2017

CBS, July 12, 9:00 PM ET

By Kellie Freeze

Summer’s biggest blockbuster is a quest to save the Earth, and the action can’t be found in your local multiplex — it arrives Wednesday on CBS. Salvation flies onto the airwaves this month when an MIT grad student (Charlie Rowe) discovers that a planet-killing asteroid is six months away from destroying the Earth. He takes his findings to a tech superstar (Santiago Cabrera), and they, together with a Pentagon official (Jennifer Finnigan), set a secret course to save the planet.

Blockbuster summer series are CBS’ forte — previous runs include action-packed series like Under the Dome, Extant and Zoo, and Finnigan sees similar eye-popping components in Salvation.

“It’s super suspenseful and super action-packed,” she shares, “And then there’s moments of levity, and there’s moments of romance. I kind of feel like it touches on everything, like we’re covering all our bases here.”

Our chat with two of the series’ stars reveals the substance behind Salvation’s sizzle. Cabrera describes his character, Darius Tanz, as an “incredible visionary” who altruistically wants to help mankind, but who is a loner trapped by the different way he looks at the world. But Cabrera imagines Darius as more than a solitary supergenius.

“I think it’s that nature of when you think about superheroes, people that have a gift, they sacrifice a normal life to be able to use that gift for the betterment of the world.”

Finnigan calls her character, Grace, the series’ “moral compass,” and loves that she defies expectations and gets steamy scenes with her hunky boss, Harris (played by Ian Anthony Dale).

“We see her starting off as this very by-the-book official government worker, and then all of a sudden, by Episode 2 she’s doing things that she never would have thought she’d do — she’s breaking rules, she’s telling lies, she’s going behind people’s back.” And these new choices are Grace’s attempt to ensure a future for her daughter — and all of humanity.

Every blockbuster needs an epic baddie, and Salvation’s villain is more than a hunk of interstellar debris. “Let’s put it this way,” Finnigan teases. “Harris and the government are making decisions that are potentially much more advantageous to the United States.”

High concept, high action and high drama are a winning combination, says Cabrera. “It feels like a summer blockbuster,” he says. “I keep calling it ‘a popcorn show,’” laughs Finnigan. “But when I say ‘a popcorn show,’ I want to say ‘a popcorn show plus,’ because the writing is really good and the acting is really good.”
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