Thursday, March 20, 2014

Pilot Review: Crisis

Crisis (NBC)
Premiered March 16 at 10pm

I had absolutely no idea what this show was about before I watched the pilot, which I’d normally say would be a completely great thing. I assumed that the crisis its title referred to involved a government conspiracy or alien invasion. The latter suspicion probably stems from the short-lived NBC series “The Event,” which saw a plane disappear moments away from hitting the White House at the end of its pilot and then devolved into extraterrestrial nonsense after that. This show, on the other hand, goes for an equally lofty concept that doesn’t involve anything alien or supernatural. It is curious to me to feature a whole class worth of kids being taken hostage by armed militants for the purposes of ransoming them and forcing their parents to commit illegal acts, since I would think that would be an objectionable and disturbing plot for many real-life parents. There is something dramatically appealing about the premise here, but the execution leaves much to be desired. The pilot pulls a few fast twists, indicating that certain people are in on the conspiracy while shocking with the revelation that other supposed bad guys aren’t actually willful participants. Like CBS’ “Hostages,” which I quit a few episodes in, I’m not sure how long this one can last without becoming old, though pacing it only a few hours per episode might help. Among the cast, Gillian Anderson of “The X-Files” fame is certainly the standout, with a meaty, high-powered role, while Dermot Mulroney and Rachael Taylor less satisfactorily inhabit their choice parts. The dialogue isn’t as bad as it could be, I suppose, but this certainly isn’t expertly-crafted television, rather a cool concept that could easily go off course.

How will it work as a series? Subsequent episodes will have to match the pacing of the first installment, which is actually decent but involves a lot of intricacies which might prove faulty upon further examination. Having too broad a scope cold also prove problematic, and so certain characters – villains, kids, and parents – will need to stand out and be strongest.
How long will it last? It’s hard to tell. Whether it could logically last more than one season is one thing, but the ratings for the pilot were slightly better than those of its lead-in “Believe.” That doesn’t mean anything too promising since I think NBC could easily can both, but for now, it’s gotten a stay of execution and will likely manage to tie up its current mystery before being decommissioned.

Pilot grade: C+

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