The cast of Salvation in a tense scene from the sci-fi drama. Picture: Supplied
Why do networks still assume that by bagging a well-known cast, it will save an irredeemably mediocre script?

In this era, when there are options aplenty (especially with online streaming) and viewers are more discerning, watching Salvation is an insult. Sorry, but it is.

Yes, it has Santiago Cabrera (Heroes, Merlin, The Musketeers), Jennifer Finnigan (The Bold and the Beautiful, Tyrant), Charlie Rowe (The Golden Compass, Never Let Me Go) and Anthony Dale (Hawaii Five-O, Murder in the First), which I love as the eye-candy aspect is covered.

But let’s talk about the premise.

Liam Cole (Rowe), an MIT grad student, makes a discovery with serious ramifications for all of mankind - an asteroid is headed towards Earth. There’s only six months to stop it.

He shares his discovery with his professor, who then goes missing. But Liam is tenacious, so he seeks out the influential tech genius Darius Tanz (Cabrera), who has a bit of sway with the Deputy Secretary of Defence, Harris Andrews.

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Meanwhile, Grace Barrows (Finnigan), who is Andrews’ head of PR, finds herself in a conflicted position. And it’s not because she’s knocking boots with her boss, but more because she betrays him for the greater good.

While there is the expected bureaucratic red tape, which heightens the drama somewhat, the narrative continues to plod along.

To be honest, there’s more talk and very little action going on here.

To ensure there are a few thrills, there’s Amanda Neel (Shazi Raja), a rookie journalist who smells a bigger story than the government has been letting on. And if a little blackmail helps her get the story, she’s okay with that. Oh the irony of seeking out the truth through dubious tactics.

Amid all the cloak-and-dagger shenanigans, there’s a romance in play with Liam falling for Jillian (Jacqueline Byers), a charming, free-spirited writer.

I’ve seen two episodes so far and all the characters seem to be chasing their tails in an attempt to find a solution.

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Salvation lacks a few things. The most obvious one being ingenuity. This is a sci-fi and, as such, the conspiracy theories need to be well developed. It should pique the curiosity of the audience.

With shows like Orphan Black, The 100, Westworld and Stranger Things changing the game, this series seems to have lost the plot - and it has only just started.

With the right treatment, proper research and perhaps a bit more ambition on the part of the creators, Salvation wouldn’t be the failure that it is.

* Salvation airs on Wednesdays on M-Net (DStv Channel 101) at 8.30pm.