There’s only thing people love more than conspiracy theories, and that is hating Nazis. Luckily, Zero Hour has both, plus the long-buried secrets of the Christian church, ancient languages, clockmaker secrets and international terrorist organizations. Yes parts of the episode were clunky and broad, but it’s a broadcast network pilot, what do you want? Did you not hear? Conspiracies! Nazis! Anthony Edwards! Zero Hour comes from the mind of Paul Scheuring, who created Prison Break, and is clearly no stranger to drawing things out. But if ABC is smart the show will not fall prey to what happened to both Lost and Prison Break, and instead deliver a tight and coherent series. We can only hope. I’m getting ahead of myself — hit the jump to talk about the first episode and what we learned from it. Put on your tinfoil hat, comrades!
Time is key to Zero Hour (obviously) not only because of the significance of the twelve (apostles, and alpha/omega of our timekeeping system) but also how breaking its bonds, as the old clockmaker said, could end mankind (through becoming immortal or whatever is going on with Hank and his ancient self). It’s a great topic symbolically, metaphysically, even literally, and there are lots of places for the series to go without incorporating frozen donkey wheels (when they got to that Arctic bunker I started having Lost flashbacks).
The set up is pretty basic: we have Hank Galliston (Anthony Edwards), editor of Modern Skeptics Magazine (of course) and his two lackeys Rachel (Addison Timlin) and Aaron (Scott Michael Foster – I had no idea what their names were until I read the cast list, because so far they don’t add much besides actual bodies). Still, the two help form Hank’s support base with his wife Laila (Jacinda Barrett, who was on the Real World: London) kidnapped, though presumably still alive. Antagonist and soon to be friend, FBI Agent Rebecca Riley (Carmen Ejogo) is a well-connected ally that Hank will need, as she repeats constantly, “as a resource.”
So that’s the main crew, along with Hank’s priest friend who got a raw deal halfway through the episode (and isn’t listed on any of the casting sites so … I’m assuming he’s not coming back. I could be wrong). The pilot was a whirlwind with lots of fun stuff (maps on diamonds!) and coincidences (“I Googled an old Rosicrucian and found his address no problem!”) and of course Rosicrucianism itself (Rosicrucianism!). It hinted at time travel or immortality of some kind, of devil babies born without the need or a womb and twelve “new” apostles given the a secret (and gift?) that would save mankind. Busy day at the office.
Still … the critic has to have her say. Most of the execution of these plot points was, frankly, ludicrous. Chartering a plane to a remote arctic spot that, it seems, would probably have been spotted since it was sticking out of the snow with a giant swastika on it (and no lock!), is apparently pretty easy to do these days. Two copy writers for a small-time magazine have the resources to hop over the Bavaria and find an English-speaking 98 year old who is willing to more or less tell them all of the secrets of the universe (how does he know they’re not part of the group looking for the clocks in the first place?). An FBI agent would be a great resource … on American soil. Elsewhere, which is where it looks like much of the action will take place, the CIA would probably be a better friend to have. But hey, have gun, will travel!
Bottom line: it’s a pilot, and lazy or bizarre or coincidental elements aside, it was a lot of fun. I’m not saying that broadcast pilots shouldn’t be held to a higher standard, but I also regret to inform everyone that if they were they wouldn’t be popular enough to keep on the air. Things are going to get crazy with Zero Hour because they already have. I’m willing to overlook some of the more questionable aspects to just enjoy the fun and puzzles it will (hopefully) produce. In the meantime you can find me reading up about Rosicrucianism on Wikipedia.
Episode Rating: B+ (my new pilot default grade, to give it room to get better)
- In 2013, we’re getting to the point where people who lived through World War II and participated in things at the time (and weren’t just babies) are getting harder to realistically still find alive …
- “Goonies was not a B-movie!” – Rachel
- “You’ll lose your mind like I’ve lost mine” – White Vincent. I laughed at this but then immediately thought “tell me more!”
- This episode kinda also felt like the Amazing Race.
- Is there a connection between the Rosicrucians and the Knights Templar? I am feeling like that thing they brought up from the sewers to hide could have been the Ark of the Covenant …
- Tinfoil hatted readers, give me your thoughts! Planning to give this one a go for a few weeks and see how it shakes out. Strong start, though.