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Monday, March 17, 2014

PILOT REVIEW: Crisis

CRISIS










Starring: Dermot Mulroney, Rachael Taylor, Lance Gross, James Lafferty, Max Martini, Michael Beach, Stevie Lynn Jones, Halston Sage, Max Schneider, Joshua Erenberg, and Gillian Anderson

Created by Rand Ravich
Written by Rand Ravich, Directed by Phillip Noyce

Crisis is a new kidnapping thriller set in and around Washington DC. When students from a very privileged high school including the president's son are kidnapped, it throws the nation into crisis mode. Key players include FBI Agent Susie Dunn (Rachael Taylor) who is working the case which involves her powerful sister Meg Fitch's (Gillian Anderson) daughter (Halston Sage). Marcus Finley (Lance Gross) is a rookie secret service agent who is betrayed by his partner. Francis Gibson (Dermot Mulroney) is an ex-CIA agent who is accompanying his daughter (Stevie Lynn Jones) on the trip, but there's also more to that (I won't spoil it if you want to check the pilot out). The pilot was basically laying the pieces for the series.

THE GOOD: I thought this was a pretty intriguing start to a series. It definitely left a lot more on the table for a longer run than the other kidnapping show this season (CBS' Hostages). There are a lot of pieces to this puzzle and the pilot didn't answer many questions. Instead, it introduced tons of characters that were all connected by this kidnapping. Now if the series turns out to be too many questions, that will be a problem. But for a pilot, this was fitting and interesting. It was hard to pick out specific characters in a pilot that was full of exposition, but veterans Dermot Mulroney and Gillian Anderson seem like early standouts. Rachael Taylor is better here than she was in her last two series (ABC's failed Charlie's Angels reboot and 666 Park Avenue).

THE BAD: I liked a lot of things they were doing in the pilot but some of the acting from the teens didn't working for me. I just felt like some of the dialogue as they were being kidnapped came across as fake considering their present situation. Also, the show had a few too many plot cliches amongst the high school crowd (a teacher/student affair, the outcasts versus the popular girl, the nerdy/fat kid who didn't make it with the rest of them). I don't think this show aims to be a typical high school drama so they don't need to make stereotypes. And as always with a show like this, I worry that they will lead us down a road to no return or stretch the appropriate length of a plot to keep the series going (if it lasts that long, that is).

BOTTOM LINE: I'm surprised that NBC chose Believe to showcase over this one because this shows more promise and it seems like it's following in the footsteps of high stakes thrillers that have been hits recently like Scandal and The Blacklist. That being said, I remember reading how they halted production for awhile in the fall to redirect the plot so maybe a promising pilot is going to evaporate into a weaker series. But I'll hold out hope that this is going to be a thrilling new series.

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