Comic-Con 2012: CULT, a New CW Series from FARSCAPE Creator Rockne S. O’Bannon; Includes Commentary from O’Bannon Himself

     July 13, 2012


TV pilots are always tricky.  Even the best show can start out rough.  Seinfeld took three seasons before it hit its stride.  With this in mind, one has to consider not just what is shown on screen, but what also the potential of what is not. Cult, the new meta-series from Farscape mastermind Rockne S. O’Bannon, has an especially rough pilot, but it also has great potential.  Hit the jump for a summary of the pilot and more info on the show.

cult-tv-showCult is the kind of show that is so high concept, it loops all the way back around into being convoluted.  It’s a new CW series about a fictional cultish CW series that focuses on a cult that may or may not be linked to a real cult. At various times, the pilot recalls They Live, Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, Scream, Veronica Mars, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Fight Club, Alcatraz, Lost and especially The Ring.

The pilot begins with a faux-documentary about a cult leader named Billy Grimm (Robert Keppner) who looks a bit like Jim Jones and acts a bit like Charles Manson. From here, we move into a police procedural, which in turn becomes the show-within-the-show. And it pretty much goes on like that.

The premiere settles into a less frantic rhythm when The Vampire Diaries’ Matt Davis takes center stage as a formerly prestigious journalist fallen on hard times who teams up with Jessica Lucas, an intern on the fictional show Cult, to investigate the real disappearance of his junkie brother, who obsessed over the show-within-a-show in the period before he went missing. Eventually, the search leads to a disturbing website, a terrified phone call and possibly a downloadable blood virus.

The creators are clearly having fun with their deeply-couched concept.  In the episode’s best scene, the protagonist matches eye line with a fictional character who is denoted as fictional by the faux-CW logo hidden in the lower left corner.  And the ‘real’ world versus ‘show’ world is offset by subtly satirical shifts in film stock, make up style and acting choices.  It’s all very clever, but it doesn’t even come close to cohesiveness by the closing credits.

cult-tv-series-robert-knepperWhereas most shows of this type combine episodic A-plots with larger B-plots, Cult doesn’t appear to have any delineation.  Literally nothing is resolved by the end of the first episode.

Or is it?

During the panel, O’Bannon gleefully explained that there is a concrete answer at the end of this story and that scenes from the planned series finale actually appear as subliminal jump cuts in the pilot.  The gimmick is reminiscent of season two of Breaking Bad, and if they can play it out half as well here, Cult could be an all time great.

Honestly, I probably won’t watch this.  But, I also think that I would be more inclined to follow this one than any of the shows currently on the CW.  If you like this type of thing, there is something to chew on.  Otherwise, eh.

Around The Web


Here’s What’s Leaving Netflix in June: JACK REACHER, THE ROCKETEER, and More

Time to hurry up and watch 'Snatch', 'The Silence of the Lambs', and 'Taxi Driver'.

ORPHAN BLACK Recap: “Certain Agony of the Battlefield”

After two whole seasons, Dylan Bruce finally gets to show off what he's capable of.

Here’s What’s New to Netflix in June: Marvel, Scorsese, and More

'The Aviator', 'Transformers: Age of Extinction', and an original series from the Wachowski siblings are among the new releases coming to Netflix next month.

New SCREAM QUEENS Featurette: Go Behind the Scenes with Ryan Murphy and the Cast

Everyone has a motive ...

TV Performer of the Week: Tom Cavanagh, THE FLASH

A mysterious and captivating performance that provided a great complexity for the season's main question mark.

FX Orders Kurt Sutter’s THE BASTARD EXECUTIONER to Series

'True Blood' actor Stephen Moyer and Katey Segal lead the cast of the 13th Century-set drama.


And they are everything fans could possibly want.

Red Nose Day: Watch Anna Kendrick as Indiana Jones, Kermit Singing, More

In the first Red Nose Day special on American shores (benefitting the charity Comic Relief), celebrities such as Julia Roberts, Hugh Grant, Anna Kendrick, and even Kermit the Frog all showed up to participate in the live telecast.

Watch GAME OF THRONES: THE MUSICAL Starring Peter Dinklage, Kit Harington, and More

The 'Game of Thrones' cast and Coldplay got together to create a 12-minute sketch to raise money for Red Nose Day.

TEEN WOLF Season 5 Trailer: Senior Year Bites

Dylan O'Brien and Tyler Posey lead the supernatural series, which looks to be taking a dark turn in its fifth season.

Page 1 of 68312345...102030...Last »