Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's 'The Zero Hour'
[In case you've Forgotten, and as I will continue to mention each and every one of these posts that I do: This is *not* a review. Pilots change. Sometimes a lot. Often for the better. Sometimes for the worse. But they change. Actual reviews will be coming in September and perhaps October (and maybe midseason in some cases). This is, however, a brief gut reaction to not-for-air pilots. I know some people will be all "These are reviews." If you've read me, you've read my reviews and you know this isn't what they look like.]
Show:"The Zero Hour" (ABC) [Midseason]
The Pitch: Horologists, Nazis, Rosicrucians and Goose... Oh my!
Quick Response: In previewing "Do No Harm" last week, I mentioned that it was one of "three or four audaciously weird, wacky and possibly terrible (but possibly terribly addictive) new dramas" premiering at midseason. ABC's "The Zero Hour" is another. Creator Paul T. Scheuring ("Prison Break") is no stranger to seemingly unsustainable premises that may have been better suited to a miniseries format and I guess you could *kinda* argue that "Prison Break" found ways to regularly reinvent itself frequently enough to justify airing for four seasons, rather than for eight episodes as a Limited Series Event. But "Zero Hour," with its tenuous and sometimes foolhardy alternate history involving the secret religious orders and scientific exploration and the Holocaust, is possibly even less suited for a long run and even more suited for a strictly capped episode run. Some stories aren't meant to run for 200 episodes and I get the feeling that with its Rosicrucians, demon babies, underground clockmakers and 12-centric numerology, "The Zero Hour" should maybe run 10 hours, deliver answers and get out while the getting's good. And you know what? I'd watch that miniseries. "The Zero Hour" is a little bit "Indiana Jones," a little bit "Goonies" and a lot "Da Vinci Code" and, with Pierre Morel at the helm, it's handsomely produced and moves at an impressive click given the sheer amount of twisty exposition required in the initial 44 minutes. "Zero Hour" has shades of Morel's "Taken" and as with "Taken," the French director is constantly pushing hard to overcome the clunkiness of the script. As an archetypal Man of Reason Forced Into a Situation That Requires Faith, Anthony Edwards is entirely convincing, even if his workplace -- Modern Skeptic Magazine -- is not. Other people seem to be concerned by the age difference between Edwards and on-screen love Jacinda Barrett of "Real World" fame. I was not. Edwards gets good support from Scott Michael Foster (CAPPY!!!!) and Addison Timlin as kinda a Skeptics Scoobie Gang (not that the "real" Scoobie Gang lacked for skepticism). Charles Dutton and an assortment of creepy Euro-actors provide properly hammy support in a pilot that is never subtle, never intellectually approachable and never boring. If you like conspiracies-for-conspiracy's-sake thrillers and you find your curiosity piqued by dialogue like "12 is a magic number... 12 is divine... 12 is both a beginning and the end of time!" you'll probably be willing to pretend that "The Zero Hour" is better than it actually is.
Desire To Watch Again: Last season, Cappy (Scott Michael Foster!!!) co-starred in "The River," an ambitious ABC drama that sometimes seemed to be capable of fulfilling its creepy goals and sometimes seemed to be adrift without a paddle. "The River" wasn't a miniseries and it concluded with the narrative still very much open, but after ABC cancelled it, that's what it became for futile Emmy purposes. The "Zero Hour" team really should approach this as a one-season game. If they want to toss in a surprise at the end hinting at a second season, that's fine, but there are many questions raised by the pilot and it would be an error not to just steer into answers as quickly as possible. If you told me that after Episode 12, "Zero Hour" would hit an end, I think I'd be happy to watch. The business doesn't work that way, so I have reservations.
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Do No Harm'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: The CW's 'The Carrie Diaries'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's 'Malibu Country'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'The New Normal'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Guys with Kids'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: FOX's 'The Mindy Project'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: CBS' 'Partners'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's 'Nashville'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: CBS' 'Made in Jersey'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: The CW's 'Emily Owens, M.D.'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: FOX's 'Mob Doctor'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Animal Practice'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's 'Last Resort'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: CBS' 'Vegas'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: The CW's 'Beauty & The Beast'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's '666 Park Avenue'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Chicago Fire'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: FOX's 'Ben and Kate'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: CBS' 'Elementary'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: The CW's 'Arrow'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's 'The Neighbors'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Revolution'
All of last year's Take Me To The Pilots entries