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By RD Heldenfels Published: September 22, 2005

I finally grabbed enough time to get through ''Threshold'' (although there are newer shows backed up in my DVR, thanks to the fall season). Didn't like the second hour as much as the first. Executive producer Brannon Braga has said that he wants the show to be scary, but sometimes the horror-movie cliches seem to pile on too high -- notably the heroine-fleeing-in-a-nightgown business.

(In the aftermath of the scene, I kept wondering if someone was going to find her a robe. I guess they were focused on other things.)

That said, even if I'm not crazy about the show, I do like one idea within it. You sit there, you feel sympathy for the characters, maybe even like them -- and then you stop and think, wait a minute, shouldn't these be the bad guys? We're watching ''The X-Files'' from the point of view of the people who want to shut up Scully and Mulder. Again, I didn't think of this on my own -- Braga has said the show wanted to be seen from inside a cover-up -- but onscreen it grabs you when you're not expecting it.

You'll be thinking about the puzzle of what the alien arrival really means, and how the scientists on the show are going to figure it out. And they'll be getting help from the big government guys, only the big government guys are doing all sorts of things that should scare the daylights out of us -- tapping phones, altering driver's licenses, poking into personal lives, holding people on thin suspicion, getting anything they want.

In that respect, ''Threshold'' is very much an addition to the post-9/11 debate. It is already asking if we should expect the government to use any and all means to protect us, whether from aliens or terrorists? In the two-hour premiere, the answer was basically ''yes.'' We'll see what it says as the series goes along.

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