Most wanted: A fugitive pair run for their lives in 'The Passage'

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Francis Babin / TV Media
Saniyya Sidney and Mark-Paul Gosselaar star in "The Passage"

Saniyya Sidney and Mark-Paul Gosselaar star in "The Passage"

The new year is officially upon us, which means New Year's resolutions are in full vogue once again. As usual, countless well-meaning men and women will resolve to change themselves for the better, be it by getting in shape, learning a new language or exploring the world. Many people resolve to read more, but who has the time? Fortunately, Hollywood has us covered.

Like last year, a myriad of book adaptations are poised to grace the big and small screen in 2019. Looking to capture the world's attention and become the next "Game of Thrones" or "The Handmaid's Tale" are Hulu's "Catch-22," HBO's "Watchmen" and plenty of other contenders. On Monday, Jan. 14, "The Passage" looks to become the next big adaptation when it premieres on Fox.

Based on the bestselling novel series by Justin Cronin, "The Passage" focuses on Project Noah, a secret medical facility located in Colorado, where the country's best scientists are conducting experiments on an extremely dangerous virus found in the jungles of South America. Working tirelessly, they hope to develop a new immunity-boosting drug that would have the potential to cure all diseases. However, the deadly virus also has the power to wipe out the human race. It's safe to say that the stakes are incredibly high and that things might get a bit apocalyptic.

Like all good tales of science gone bad, the Project Noah scientists, comprised of lead scientist Dr. Major Nichole Sykes (Caroline Chikezie, "The Shannara Chronicles"), Dr. Jonas Lear (Henry Ian Cusick, "The 100") and other geniuses are in desperate need of human test subjects.

After seeing the effects of the virus on patient zero -- Dr. Tim Fanning (Jamie McShane, "Bloodline"), who survived the jungle expedition -- the lead doctors moved on to Death Row inmate Shauna Babcock (Brianne Howey, "The Exorcist"). In both cases, the test subjects became unstable, highly contagious and incredibly violent, turning into vampire-like beings.

Operating under the belief that the virus's side-effects might be somehow related to age, the Project Noah scientists set out to find a new and younger guinea pig. Since a child's immune system has not had a chance to fully mature, it might be possible for the host and the virus to live in harmony. Eventually, a 10‐year‐old orphan named Amy Bellafonte (Saniyya Sidney, "American Horror Story: Roanoke") is deemed to be the perfect candidate and is selected to be a test subject.

Federal agent Brad Wolgast (Mark-Paul Gosselaar, "Franklin & Bash") is chosen to protect the young girl and escort her to the remote facility, but things soon get complicated when the two form a very close bond. Over the course of their trip to the secret medical facility, Wolgast starts to see himself as her surrogate father and ultimately decides that he cannot bring her in after a crisis of conscience. Determined to protect her at any cost, he must outrun the authorities with the girl in tow.

Henry Ian Cusick as seen in "The Passage"

Henry Ian Cusick as seen in "The Passage"

To keep Amy safe, Wolgast must face off against his former protégé and ex-CIA operative, Clark Richards (Vincent Piazza, "Boardwalk Empire"). Fiercely intelligent and relentless, he will stop at nothing to stop the fugitives. In order to survive, the pair must seek allies anywhere they can, including Wolgast's former wife, Dr. Lila Kyle (Emmanuelle Chriqui, "Super Troopers 2," 2018).

As things get heated outside the walls of the medical facility with the pair on the run, things are about to take a turn for the worse inside. The quarantined test subjects are getting used to their new selves and are trying out their new powers, bringing the world one step closer to a cataclysmic event.

Cronin's series is incredibly ambitious, spanning 1,000 years and containing more than 100 characters. It's perfectly suited for episodic television, but the series was not always destined to be a small-screen property. Originally developed for the big screen, the time-jumping apocalyptic sci-fi epic was eventually retooled (for the better) after those heading the project truly realized its scope and potential. The first season will only depict the events related to Project Noah detailed in the first novel, while the next season will delve into the colony storyline.

"The Passage" won't shy away from vampires and other sci-fi/horror elements found in the source material, but it will emphasize the father-daughter relationship at the heart of novel. At the Television Critics Association press tour last summer, writer Liz Heldens ("Friday Night Lights") discussed how she wanted the series to spotlight Amy and Wolgast's relationship first and foremost, not only because it's interesting but because it's something that everyone can relate to. It makes the series accessible for the home audience who may not be typical viewers of similar series.

From Matt Reeves ("War for the Planet of the Apes," 2017) and Academy Award nominee Ridley Scott ("All the Money in the World," 2017) comes an epic sci-fi thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat. On Monday, Jan. 14, the end is near when an experiment with a deadly virus goes off the rails in the premiere "The Passage," on Fox.