Who: “Crisis,” aired on network TV, specifically on NBC, Sundays at 10:00 PM.
What: “Crisis,” a hostage drama wherein the children of the most powerful and influential leaders of the United States and even the world, including the president’s son, are kidnapped, and each of the powerful parents are approached by the kidnappers for different reasons. The show follows the kidnapped children, the FBI and Secret Service as they conduct the manhunt, and the mastermind of the kidnapping.
Washington’s elite teenagers attend a fictional private school. While on a field trip, their bus is hijacked; one of the Secret Service agents inexplicably shoots his partner, Agent Finley (Lance Gross); and the children are taken, blindfolded, to a secure location. As it turns out, one of the trip chaperons, Francis Gibson (Dermot Mulroney), poorer student Beth Ann’s father and seemingly an unassuming spineless type, is masterminding the whole affair for unknown reasons and is taking it in turn to contact each of the parents, including Amber’s mom Meg (Anderson), the CEO of a powerful multi-million dollar corporation, to force them to do extreme things in the hopes of seeing their children again. Fortunately, Meg’s sister, Agent Susie Dunn (Rachael Taylor), is an FBI agent and also Amber’s real mother, and she has been assigned to meet with her estranged sister and the other parents to solve the crisis, before the kidnappers cause harm to any of the children, including the president’s son.
When: The series premiered on NBC, Sunday, March 16, 2014, at 10:00 PM.
Where: The action is primarily set in Washington DC and surrounds.
Why: Honestly, as I watch this program, I’m not quite sure what enticed me to it other than Gillian Anderson. The erstwhile Scully features prominently in this show, though other projects she has done have not interested me. Otherwise, this program doesn’t fit my usual cup of tea. Oh well – I’m expanding my horizons, perhaps.
How – as in How’s It Going? (THOUGHTS…at present)
As May sweeps round to a close and “up fronts,” when the new season’s schedules are announced by each of the major networks, are poised to begin, the networks have been making sweeping and swift final decisions regarding what stays and what goes, i.e. what is renewed for another season and what is canceled. Because the purpose of this blog is to be more editorial about particular shows this viewer watches rather than a major entertainment news outlet to report scoops, spoilers, and other television-related sound bytes (for now), this blogger will report the cancellations and reviews as I have time to write about them.
First up, within the hour, NBC canceled its two mid-season freshman dramas, one of which is Crisis. Seeing as how I’m a one-woman writer here, balancing life/work with my couch potato aspirations, this viewer was behind on this program, catching only the first two episodes, including the pilot, within the last two weeks. The original review of the pilot can be found here.
Frankly, that’s all this viewer has managed to watch. After assigning an abysmal 2.5 star rating to the pilot, this viewer committed only to a four-episode trial in the offing. Thank you, NBC, for relieving this viewer of the need to continue watching. Though the writing was on the wall when NBC yanked Crisis from upcoming Sunday airing schedules.
Crisis was dubbed a “limited series,” meaning only thirteen episodes were ordered, and that there was an option to renew. Thus, the show’s creators likely operated within the expectation that it could only last one season, theoretically creating the story with some amount of closure by season’s end. To date, eight episodes have aired.
This viewer didn’t really enjoy the pilot or second episode. While the concept – a high stakes ransom game, where there are multiple rich and powerful parties in a desperate position to use their influence to take extreme measures and to force unusually dangerous things to happen – was interesting and promised some suspenseful story potential, the first two episodes (at least) suffered from predominantly poor acting, particularly by the younger performers; poor script writing; and poor episodic directing, including shoddy camera work. What should have been a tense, heart-pounding affair with creepy back story turned out to be movie of the week in feel and tone. I proffered in my pilot review that it could have worked better as a film. Perhaps, even a miniseries might have worked for this concept, forcing the story-makers to pack more action and intensity into a smaller serving.
Chatter from the web suggests that the series “got better” as it progressed, and there is some (small) legitimate disappointment concerning its cancellation. Unfortunately, this viewer is not going to take the time to find out. This Crisis was a hollow affair two episodes in – despite the presence of our favorite Scully, Gillian Anderson – with unsympathetic characters and rough shod presentation; if it did get better, there was already an obvious flaw with such a slow and uneven start demanding time and patience to observe improvement. This viewer sensed the potential of boredom and didn’t regard what was viewed as the pinnacle of excitement.
There is no word yet on if/when the rest of the non-aired season will air. Because it was classified as a “limited series,” it will probably enjoy a DVD/streaming release with the full season published, if nothing else.
This viewer was unable to recommend Crisis while reviewing the pilot beyond its first two episodes – or to force myself to watch another episode when its cancellation was imminent – so the news comes as really no surprise. Despite Ms. Anderson’s star power, Crisis could best be classified as a “nice idea; didn’t quite pull it off.” Even if it did get better several episodes down the line, there is too much on television to entice that kind of patience without at least a glimmer of hope. Sorry, Crisis fans; you’re more patient than I am.
THE FUTURE OF THE SHOW:
Canceled! After two episodes, this viewer has officially stopped watching and removed it from the watch list. For the June end of season report, if there is an announcement regarding the rest of the season’s non-aired episodes, I will include that information in that entry.