Prey (American TV series)

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Prey (TV series) main cast.jpeg
Main cast
Created byWilliam Schmidt
StarringDebra Messing
Adam Storke
Larry Drake
Frankie Faison
Vincent Ventresca
James Morrison
Roger Howarth
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes13
Executive producersCharlie Craig
William Schmidt
ProducersDonald Marcus
Phil Parslow
Production companiesEdelson Productions
Lars Thorwald Inc.
Warner Bros. Television
Original networkABC
Original releaseJanuary 15 (1998-01-15) –
July 9, 1998 (1998-07-09)

Prey is a science-fiction television series that aired for one season (13 episodes) in 1998 on ABC. The series stars Debra Messing, Adam Storke, Larry Drake, Frankie Faison, James Morrison, Roger Howarth, and Vincent Ventresca. It was commissioned by ABC following their unprecedented decision to cancel Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman after 4 seasons despite having originally announced a 5th. Prey's commissioning made up for ABC's commitment to Warner Bros. Television.


The series follows Dr. Sloan Parker (Debra Messing), an anthropologist studying genetic variation in humans. Sloan's mentor, Dr Ann Coulter, is a geneticist who believes that the violent behavior of certain criminals may have a genetic basis. She has collected genetic samples from a variety of convicted murderers and other violent criminals, and is currently preparing to serve as an expert witness in the trial of an accused serial killer. After the killer escapes and murders Dr. Coulter, Sloan discovers her body, along with a collection of data demonstrating that many violent criminals—especially serial killers—often share a fairly large number of genetic markers that set them apart from normal human beings, rendering them as genetically different from humans as humans are from chimpanzees. They are a new species of hominid, or very manlike ape, characterized as being capable of "unspeakable evil", much like a human sociopath.

Sloan shares Dr. Coulter's discovery with fellow scientists, law-enforcement personnel, and a few others, and soon comes to realize that the new species is on the verge of supplanting humankind in the same way that Homo sapiens supplanted the Neanderthals at the end of the last ice age, even theorizing that their emergence might be connected to global warming.

Meanwhile, as the escaped killer cuts a murderous swath through California, Sloan makes the acquaintance of Tom Daniels (Adam Storke), a federal agent determined to capture him. Tom is eventually revealed to be a member of the new species himself, and describes them as "hunting" human beings the same way humans hunt deer and other animals, hence the show's title. Daniels leads Sloan and others to a well-hidden cave, in which is found a rather large pile of the personal effects—such as wallets, eyeglasses, shoes, belts—of a great many people. Daniels advises that these trophy hoards are used as status displays among his kind, and further advises that he wanted the investigators to know "exactly what you're dealing with". Serial killers often collect trophies of their kills, and the new species does the same.

Upon learning that the new species can breed with humanity, but due to their dominant genetic traits the children of such a pairing are always the new species, they are given the name Homo dominant.

Traits of Homo dominant[edit]

Dominants are 1.6% different from Sapiens (normal humans).

Dominants are stronger, more intelligent and more aggressive than homo sapiens, and are convinced that, as a superior form of life, they are entitled to subjugate their human cousins by whatever means necessary. They often express an antipathy toward human beings that borders on racism. Their aggression towards homo sapiens sapiens is portrayed as an instinctive genetic characteristic, present even in young children, for the purpose of their own survival as a species, though this could have been a skewed conclusion as most of the early genetic information was drawn from the criminal population (those genetic samples being readily available).

Dominants also possess various psychic traits, including the ability to cloud the minds of others, sense other members of their own species telepathically, see ten seconds into the future, and sense emotions empathically. It's not clear from the show that these are actually extrasensory perception, but Sloan and other investigators are advised that Dominants are definitely aware of others who are quite nearby, and use this ability to co-ordinate group actions such as paramilitary operations or simple hunting of humans as sport.

The Dominants are able to exist comfortably in much warmer climates than humans, barely perspiring even in desert conditions. They have smaller craniums than humans with their brains displaying greater synaptic interconnectivity, neural density, and processing speed as a result. The proximate half-century old mummified remains of a 9-year-old Dominant girl, pregnant with four fetuses, reveal that the females of their species possess four uteri. However, the remains suggest that some young females at that time died due to some complications, but that now (present time) they have evolved enough that Dominant young females of that age can give birth (up to four children at a time) without any birth complications - and with ease. At least some of the time these children are identical quadruplets.

Sloan speculates at one point that there may be as many as 200,000 members of the new species. Their point of origin is revealed to be a deserted village in Oaxaca, Mexico, a location the Dominants regard as sacred. It is also the location of a mysterious monolith with arcane writings on its surface. It is believed that the location was once a swamp-like environment, with the villagers living in huge old ruins, but due to some type of climate change, the area quickly changed into a desert.

There are groups of humans who are aware of the Dominants and collaborate with them. Similarly, there are groups of Dominants who wish to co-exist peacefully with humans.

Technologically, the Dominants use genetic engineering in an attempt to "convert" humans into members of their own species. They also make use of cloning and nanotechnology.


No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
0"Hungry for Survival"Tobe HooperWilliam SchmidtUnaired
Unaired pilot episode.
1"Existence"Peter O'FallonWilliam SchmidtJanuary 15, 1998 (1998-01-15)
2"Discovery"Dan LernerStory by : Charlie Craig & Jeremy R. Littman
Teleplay by : Chris Levinson
January 22, 1998 (1998-01-22)
3"Pursuit"Stephen CraggLaurence AndriesJanuary 29, 1998 (1998-01-29)
4"Origins"Bill CorcoranDonald MarcusFebruary 5, 1998 (1998-02-05)
5"Revelations"Jim CharlestonLaurence Andries & Chris LevinsonFebruary 19, 1998 (1998-02-19)
6"Infiltration"Winrich KolbeCharlie Craig & Jeremy R. LittmanMarch 5, 1998 (1998-03-05)
7"Transformations"James A. ContnerDonald MarcusMarch 12, 1998 (1998-03-12)
8"Veil"Martha MitchellCharlie Craig & Jeremy R. LittmanMarch 19, 1998 (1998-03-19)
9"Collaboration"Ian ToyntonLaurence Andries & Chris LevinsonJune 11, 1998 (1998-06-11)
10"Sleeper"Vern GillumDonald MarcusJune 18, 1998 (1998-06-18)
11"Vengeance"Bill CorcoranLaurence AndriesJune 25, 1998 (1998-06-25)
12"Progeny"Terrence O'HaraStory by : James Halpern
Teleplay by : Donald Marcus
July 2, 1998 (1998-07-02)
13"Deliverance: Part 1"Bill CorcoranCharlie Craig & Jeremy R. LittmanJuly 9, 1998 (1998-07-09)

External links[edit]