Michele Hewitson: In the future, rubbish is cool

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The happy family from Extant: mysteriously pregnant Mom, cad Dad and creepy robot child.
The happy family from Extant: mysteriously pregnant Mom, cad Dad and creepy robot child.

The happy family from Extant: mysteriously pregnant Mom, cad Dad and creepy robot child. I'd go with the alien impregnation if I was her, but I'm no expert on mysterious space pregnancies. In the future, they have a really cool way of putting out the rubbish. Forget taking those rattly old wheelie bins down to the curb once a week. In the future you put your rubbish in really cool tube things and then take the tubes out to the curb and put them into an even cooler transparent box and, whoosh, off goes the rubbish. You do have to wonder why, in the future, you'd have to take the rubbish out at all. Why couldn't you have one of those transparent box things that make rubbish vanish right there in the kitchen?

Aha! If you didn't have to take the rubbish out, you wouldn't be able to encounter weird things in the night, now would you? Such as an astronaut who committed suicide who mysteriously turns up, in the night, alive, and standing in a puddle. And it's not even raining. There are plenty of weird things in Extant, (Thursdays, 8.30pm, Prime) the new Steven Spielberg-produced series starring Halle Berry as Molly, an astronaut who has just returned from a 13-month long solo mission and is, mysteriously, obviously, up the duff.

Is it an alien baby? Or something even weirder? During that 13 months in space, there was a strange episode in which another dead guy, her former lover, turned up in the airlock (I think; I'm no expert on weirdy space travel incidents) and wrote, on the window thingy: Help Me.

Is he the father of the space baby? We don't know and neither does she. But why did she delete the spaceship camera footage of the dead guy and the hours that followed after she let him in? Hanky panky in space, with a dead guy would certainly be weird, but I have a sneaking feeling the truth will be even stranger.

Molly has yet to tell her husband that she's pregnant and that she has no idea how she got pregnant. It was a solo mission, remember. I'd go with the alien impregnation if I was her, but I'm no expert on mysterious space pregnancies either. Adding to her mother of all dilemmas is that they'd tried for years to have a baby, with no luck.

So how is it that they have a son, Ethan? Aha, again! The husband -- who I suspect is a bit of a cad -- made one. That's what he does for a job: He makes robots, which is what son Ethan is. Ethan has a sweet face, a slot in his back which opens to allow him to be recharged (I think; I'm certainly no expert on weirdy robot kids) and is truly creepy. He's programmed to be adorable but he doesn't fool Molly, and he doesn't fool me. I may know next to nothing about creepy robot kids but I know one when I see one. I knew he was creepy even before he threw a tantrum and ran off into the woods and was found standing next to a dead bird. "It was like this when I found it," he said, the little liar, to mommy Molly. Then he said, creepily, "your hair looks really pretty". I'd have taken his battery pack out right then and there and put him in the cool rubbish dispenser but I'm ruthless when it comes to weirdy robot kids.

So in the future they have creepy robot kids and cool rubbish disposal units and what else? There is a mirror in the bathroom which turns into a TV when you touch it. (No steam! The future is amazing!) They also have cutesy wicker baskets and wind chimes. Presumably these are the quaint relics of an earlier age. In the future the antiques are crap.

If I was living, in the future, next door to somebody with wind chimes, I'd zap them into oblivion with my invisible laser gun thing that doubles as a wooden spoon for smacking creepy robot kids. There's nothing as annoying as wind chimes, even if they are antique wind chimes. I suppose they're here along with the wicker baskets, to make a not so subtle point that even in the future, the domestic life needs cutesy things as well as mirrors in the bathroom that double as TV screens. They represent the human touch.

Trust nobody, said the dead-but-miraculously-now-alive and possibly human astronaut. I'm with that guy. I'd certainly never trust anyone with wind chimes.

It's rubbish, really, but slickly made, pretty cool rubbish. I'm hooked. I want to see robot kid get his come-uppance.

- TimeOut

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