Collision course: Motley crew faces possible Armageddon in 'Salvation'

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Jacqueline Spendlove / TV Media
Charlie Rowe, Santiago Cabrera, Jennifer Finnigan and Ian Anthony Dale as seen in "Salvation"

Charlie Rowe, Santiago Cabrera, Jennifer Finnigan and Ian Anthony Dale as seen in "Salvation"

As you're sipping your lemonade, soaking up the rays and generally enjoying the halcyon days of summer, surely one of the furthest thoughts from your mind is that the world could end at any moment.

Fair enough -- it probably won't. If you give any weight to CBS's new summer series, however, it may make you reevaluate your peaceful state of mind. "Salvation" is an upcoming suspense drama centered on the discovery of a potentially cataclysmic asteroid that's six months away from a devastating collision with Earth -- and specifically, the handful of people who know about it. The series premieres Wednesday, July 12, on CBS.

By all accounts, the series is just the sort of edge-of-your-seat, easy-to-watch fare that viewers like to follow during the summer TV season. Folks are rarely looking to get invested in a heavy serial or character-packed drama when there are barbecues to be had and vacations to flit off to.

"'Salvation' is the type of fast-paced, dramatic ride that viewers look for in a summer even series," CBS Entertainment president Glenn Geller said in a statement. "We're excited to launch another high-concept, highly promotable show with great auspices that adds to our roster of year-round, original scripted programming."

The series focuses on a small knot of people who are aware of the impending disaster, and the different ways that their various positions lead them to approach the situation. The Samson asteroid, as it's known, is determined to be precisely 186 days away from Earth, hurtling closer every minute. That means these few people in the know have six months to figure out how to save all of humanity from an untimely demise. No pressure or anything.

Charlie Rowe ("Red Band Society) joins the cast of "Salvation" as Liam Cole, an MIT grad student who's made aware of NASA's disquieting discovery. He and tech billionaire Darius Tanz (Santiago Cabrera, "The Musketeers") team up and lend the Pentagon their aid in trying to steer the deadly Samson off course. In doing so, they must also keep the coming apocalypse a secret from everyone they know, lest it cause mass panic among the public.

Jennifer Finnigan ("Tyrant") plays Grace Barrows, the Pentagon press secretary and a single mother. She's pulled into the government's secret task force by Deputy Secretary of Defense Harris Edwards (Ian Anthony Dale, "Murder in the First") and finds herself under considerable strain as she keeps the knowledge of the coming danger a secret from everyone she loves.

As an interesting angle, Darius recruits Jillian Hayes (Jacqueline Byers, "Roadies"), an aspiring sci-fi writer, to come up with a theoretical approach to avoiding the disaster -- at least, she thinks it's theoretical. As the only member of the think-tank who's not actually privy to the reality of their situation, Jillian may very well be the one that comes up with the most useful solution … assuming her sci-fi fix can be executed in the real world.

Ian Anthony Dale and Santiago Cabrera in a scene from "Salvation"

Ian Anthony Dale and Santiago Cabrera in a scene from "Salvation"

If you remember 1998, there's a good chance "Salvation's" premise is ringing a bell. "Deep Impact" and its rival "Armageddon" were both released that year. Both boasted big-name casts, and while neither gleaned stellar reviews, both did quite well at the box office -- the latter, in fact, was the year's highest grossing film worldwide. Evidently, the concept of a catastrophic asteroid is one that people can really get on board with -- assuming audiences are still as intrigued by the idea as they were in the late-'90s.

The show may not be brimming with the biggest names in Hollywood, but chances are you recognize a good portion of the cast. At 21 years old, London-born Rowe doesn't yet boast a terribly lengthy resumé, but his career is beginning to blossom. He recently starred alongside Oscar winner Octavia Spencer in Fox's sadly short-lived "Red Band Society," and played Peter Pan in the Syfy series "Neverland."

His co-star Cabrera is a little more established. Fans of "The Musketeers" will surely recognize him for his role as Aramis, token heartbreaker of the eponymous Three Musketeers, in the BBC series. Prior to his role of Aramis, he played precognitive comic book artist Isaac Mendez in the first season of "Heroes," as well as Lancelot in "Merlin." Earlier this year, he appeared in "Big Little Lies," an HBO miniseries starring Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman and Alexander Skarsgård, among other big names.

Most recently known for her portrayal of Molly Al-Fayeed in the FX drama "Tyrant," Canadian actress Finnigan held respectable soap tenure in "The Bold and the Beautiful," in which she played Bridget Forrester from 2000 to 2004, earning three consecutive Emmys for Outstanding Younger Actress in a Drama Series.

"Salvation" makes its straight-to-series premiere Wednesday, July 12, on CBS.