Spring 2013 Review: Zero Hour

29 Mar

Zero Hour

Zero Hour may be extremely cancelled, but that doesn’t mean we won’t be honoring its memory with a review.

A show whose first scenes lets us know that it involves a church conspiracy and Nazi mysticism, Zero Hour would probably have been better off coming out a couple years ago in the heyday of Da Vinci Code fever.

The show begins in Nazi Germany where two ostensibly non-Nazis are concerned about the Nazis’ supernatural progress on some experiments.  Namely, the Nazis have developed a way to create a child without conception, and we see this child, which has super evil zombie eyes.  The two men gasp in horror after seeing the baby, giving themselves away, and causing Nazis to chase after them, eventually leading back to their church.  At this church a group of gathered parishioners decide that they all must sacrifice whatever needs sacrificing to protect some secret object buried beneath the church.  The Nazis raid the church, killing many, but not in time to get the object, which is, to our knowledge, now secure and hidden away.

In our present time, Anthony Edwards, playing magazine publisher (of the illustrious Modern Skeptic magazine) Hank Galliston, browses a flea market with his wife Laila, in Brooklyn, before heading to work.  Within a couple of minutes of arriving, he gets a call from his wife, who runs a clock store in Brooklyn (Time to Go, it’s called – Five other suggested time phrase store names:  Time Flies, A Time to Remember, Time Enough at Last, Time to Get a Watch, Time of Your Life).  There’s someone in the store, and within seconds, she’s attacked and kidnapped.  We soon learn from an FBI officer that Laila was in fact taken by a super villainous major criminal named White Vincent (Michael Nyqvist, veteran Swedish actor who played the villain in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, and has the look to be playing US villains for at least a decade). Hank soon realizes that this came after his wife his purchased a clock, and after inspecting the clock, finds a diamond with secret writing all over it.

Upon finding that the diamond contains all this information, Hank and his two quirky and energetic young helpers (reporters at the magazine who clearly love Hank) are off to the races.  They don’t recognize the language, so they ask Hank’s old friend, a priest played by the always wonderful Charles S. Dutton, who tells them the language is an old one (I’m pretty sure he describes it as demonic, but that seems ridiculous to me) which hadn’t been used in centuries as far as the world knows.  Hank and co. are spiriting around to figure out its meaning, when Hanks gets a call from the kidnapper; bring him the clock, Vincent says, or the woman gets it.

Hank’s now set up a complicated swap with Mr. Vincent, alerting the FBI to obtain their help, but not telling them the whole story with the clock and the diamond and whatnot.  In particular, he works with agent Beck Riley who keeps hounding him and whom, being a shady Fed, he doesn’t completely trust.  Hank entrusts the diamond to the priest in case the meet goes awry.  Unfortunately, it turns out the whole operation was a set up, and that Vincent knew the priest had the diamond the whole time, and obtains it while seriously injuring Dutton in the process.

Hank and his helpers are distraught, but not ready to give up, especially after his helpers give him a big pep talk.  They still have pictures of the map from the diamond and the clock.  Hank and agent Riley travel north to where they  believe the map was marked, and the helpers head out to meet the maker of the clock in Switzerland (Modern Skeptic has quite the travel budget).  Hank and Riley find they’re on Vincent’s trail (A V.I.L.E. henchmen has been seen, is what would have been said when they arrived, if they were in the Carmen San Diego universe) and find the spot, which is filled with Nazi paraphernalia and a number of dead bodies.

The helpers find out even more important information; the clock maker tells them that the spot on the map was a person, not a place, and that the clocks are given to 12 people deemed new apostles by the crazy church conspiracy in Nazi times to protect the world from the Nazis.  Now that the Nazi villains are back at it, somehow, if they find whatever this object is THE WHOLE WORLD IS IN DANGER.  The apocalyptic speech from the clockmaker going for a couple of minutes, but essentially, bum bum bum, end of episode.  Hank’s wife hardly seems relevant when the whole world is at stake, no?

As a lover of Indiana Jones, and a liker of Hellboy, I’m a sucker for Nazi mystical conspiracies, but Zero Hour seems pretty half-hearted.  It seems like someone spent an airplane ride coming up with the conspiracy storyline without really diving into it in detail or putting in a lot of thought.  It seems a little bit like a generic conspiracy hodgepodge (Nazis?  Check.  Church?  Check.  End of the world?  Check.); from one episode it doesn’t seem like the kind of care was put into it that immediately attracts a viewer in these days of so many captivating and well-crafted tv shows.

That said, I’m still a sucker for conspiracies, and they can be entertaining and stupid at the same time sometimes, as long as they’re internally consistent and don’t get too serious on the serious vs. fun scale (e.g. Lost).  Still, even if this was not already cancelled, I’d bet against it.  I wasn’t hooked from the first episode.  To compare to recent conspiracy-style shows, last fall’s Last Resort was more captivating after it’s first episode, and Rubicon, whose conspiracy ended up being somewhat equally mish-moshy and generic but had a really cool stylistic sense right off the bat.  Lost, which still makes me angry every time I think of it to this day, had a fantastic pilot episode.  Zero Hour didn’t deliver that punch that makes you want to watch the second episode immediately after finishing the first.  And considering the show was pretty much all about plot; the characters didn’t seem like much to think of, the style was not noteworthy, and the dialogue wasn’t first right, getting the viewer interested in the plot fast, is pretty important.

Will I watch it again?  No.  It’s way cancelled; the first episode got nearly Do No Harm-level ratings.  Not that I would have anyway.  There is a possibility of an interesting conspiracy show here, but I’d render that possibility as pretty unlikely.

2 Responses to “Spring 2013 Review: Zero Hour”

  1. waldinho April 10, 2013 at 9:30 pm #

    Quite a lengthy review for such a short-lived show; also, the show title sort of begs for “Three”-style mockery (e.g., worth “Zero Hours” of your time, ad inf.)

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