• Network: NBC
  • Series Premiere Date: Sep 19, 2005
  • Season #: 1

Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 23
  2. Negative: 12 out of 23
  1. "Surface" is steeped in Spielberg, and is better Spielberg than Spielberg has managed in quite some time.
  2. 60
    It helps that Bell is able to suggest complexity, emotional and moral, even when the dialogue fails her.
  3. 60
    So far the stern-faced Lake Bell’s independent-minded oceanographer is too conventional a protagonist, while the series’ government cover-up thread... feels globally warmed over.
  4. 60
    Surface has no complex or cynical subtexts; it's straight-ahead sci fi.
  5. This by-the-numbers entry is pretty damn toothless. [23 Sep 2005, p.81]
  6. 50
    Lame storytelling and dialogue.
  7. Surface can be creepy fun, but the obvious debt it owes to the oeuvre of Steven Spielberg--from the hidden beasts and government stonewalling to the suburban angst and working-mom pluckiness--makes the rest of the show feel blandly familiar.
  8. 40
    The most enjoyable moments go to the North Carolina boy (Carter Jenkins). It's too bad Surface didn't narrow its focus and become "A Boy and His Blob."
  9. 40
    Though relentlessly ominous, "Surface" is, so far, only good for surface scares.
  10. Interesting, but the sprawling pilot doesn't do "Surface" any favors.
  11. Reviewed by: Diane Werts
    The pilot serves up flashy ooh-ah instead of anything tangible to wrap our arms around.
  12. 38
    There isn't a moment of wonder or suspense in Surface, or a single performance or character that is even remotely involving.
  13. Offers a ho-hum monster and the kind of stock characters that we've seen too many times before.
  14. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    The best thing about "Surface" thus far is NBC's promo campaign, which, sliced into bite-sized bits, actually makes the program look considerably better than it is.
  15. 30
    It's a bland Spielberg wannabe that doesn't succeed in evoking much creepiness or wonder
  16. There's nothing particularly appealing about any of the folks having the close encounters.
  17. Whoever wrote the first episode of “Lost” didn’t crowd the screen with dimwits forced to recite grade-B TV drama drivel. By that standard, “Surface” doesn’t get a pass.
  18. At first glance... it comes off as silly sci-fi, a not-so-intriguing series that wades into all-too-similar waters as two other fall shows. The difference in this one is that the water is noticeably more shallow.
  19. Desperately trying to be mysterious like "Lost," this show, by any other name, turns out to be an ironically diluted version.
  20. You won't really want to spend another hour with these people.
  21. Reviewed by: James Poniewozik
    The series hopscotches to so many locations (the Carolinas, the Antarctic, the ocean trenches) that you briefly forget that it gives you no reason to feel afraid or intrigued or anything else.
  22. 12
    The most confusing ensemble drama of the new season.
  23. One of the lead characters is an evolutionary biologist, which makes sense, since there's not a lot of intelligent design here.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 294 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 9 out of 229
  1. Aug 23, 2013
    So you love science fiction? And your heart cries out for family-friendly heart warming sci-fi horror? Surface may just be what you're looking for. It's not good, though. Full Review »
  2. Nov 11, 2011
    this web site defaults all reviews to 10 so that the first time one submits a review one might be surprised to discover that their review that identifies a lousy show gets a rating of 10.... silly way to structure the functionality Full Review »
  3. Sep 12, 2011
    I loved this show it is fun for the whole family. I can't believe the critics were so harsh. It's was a lot of fun to watch. I watched all 15 episodes in a two day marathon with my girlfriend. Very sad there is no season II Full Review »