Monday, January 9, 2017

Pilot Review: Ransom

Ransom (CBS)
Premiered January 1 at 8:30pm

It’s strange to see a network debut a new show on New Year’s Day, and unlike the series I just reviewed, a hostage negotiator drama hardly seems like the right theme for a celebratory holiday. Like many other series currently on the air, this show features an eccentric main character who manages to get away with crazy things by firing off snappy comments and walking fearlessly into situations to achieve impossible results. Answering a call from his daughter while walking straight into a hostage situation and telling her to negotiate for something just further displayed that unbelievable laidback attitude that makes Eric Beaumont the enigma that he is. He does seem a bit sloppy though, bringing his own wallet with precious possessions in it to a rain-soaked meeting where he got surprised in a way that he really shouldn’t have given his reputation. There was expected over-the-top drama with the parents of the kidnap victim and the hostage takers themselves, and nothing about the plot of this pilot felt especially creative. There’s the added twist of Maxine desperately wanting to work for him but also being the daughter of a woman he got killed, and Oliver was smart to recommend that they shouldn’t be working together even though he seems totally fine with it. CBS is all about its procedurals, and therefore this run-of-the-mill hostage drama that’s disguising itself as something innovative feels right at home and might even do really well. I don’t need to see any more of it.

How will it work as a series? In theory, this pilot episode is supposed to feature the juiciest and most enticing setup, but aside from the confusion with the parents matching up with the kid, there wasn’t much of that here. I can’t imagine that what comes next will be any more enticing. If this is your type of thing, it might be great, but otherwise it won’t offer anything new.
How long will it last? Initial reports about the show’s ratings categorize it as a flop, suggesting dismal prospects for its future. The reviews aren’t particularly good either, and airing on Saturday nights doesn’t make me feel like CBS is very into it either. I suspect that this one will be off the air very soon.

Pilot grade: C

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