Take Me To The Pilots ’12: ABC’s ‘The Zero Hour’ – by Daniel Fienberg
The Pitch: Horologists, Nazis, Rosicrucians and Goose… Oh my!
Quick Response: In previewing “Do No Harm” last week, I mentioned that it was one of “three or four audaciously weird, wacky and possibly terrible (but possibly terribly addictive) new dramas” premiering at midseason. ABC’s “The Zero Hour” is another. Creator Paul T. Scheuring (“Prison Break”) is no stranger to seemingly unsustainable premises that may have been better suited to a miniseries format and I guess you could *kinda* argue that “Prison Break” found ways to regularly reinvent itself frequently enough to justify airing for four seasons, rather than for eight episodes as a Limited Series Event. But “Zero Hour,” with its tenuous and sometimes foolhardy alternate history involving the secret religious orders and scientific exploration and the Holocaust, is possibly even less suited for a long run and even more suited for a strictly capped episode run. Some stories aren’t meant to run for 200 episodes and I get the feeling that with its Rosicrucians, demon babies, underground clockmakers and 12-centric numerology, “The Zero Hour” should maybe run 10 hours, deliver answers and get out while the getting’s good.
It’s not that I just discovered Breaking Bad. It’s really not that. After all, there is really no way to escape hearing about it, especially when one is in the entertainment industry. But I have to confess it, now, at the beginning: I just finished season one.
We all have our reasons for putting off watching TV shows we want to eventually get to someday, when we have All The Time Ever To Just Watch TV (read: never). There are plenty of excuses – I’m sure you have your own version of the “I’m too busy to watch every show I want to watch, it’s already the second season, and anyway I hate cliffhangers because when I was a child the monstrous suspense of The X-Files scarred me for life, so I don’t think I can handle it.” Whatever your less-nerdy version of that is, substitute here.
For those of us who really love television, before watching even an episode of a show there must be careful consideration of the future. After all, picking up a show is a bit like a new relationship: you think about it constantly, speculate almost non-stop about what might happen next to anyone who will listen, and you hope it will never end.
I have to admit, I’m a sucker for animals. I’ve been looking forward to Animal Practice since I first heard it was coming. I didn’t need to know much: it’s set in a veterinary office, and one of the main characters is a monkey. As far as I was concerned, you could put a big “SOLD” sign on it before I even watched it.
Well, I suppose I could have been jealous. This is an idea that I should have come up with and written. Why didn’t I? I really don’t know. In retrospect, the idea of a show set in a vet’s office is so obvious. A vet could easily house a comedy, or a serious medical drama, or even a dramedy. Maybe that’s why I’m not jealous. I may not have thought of it first, but there are at least a hundred different possible spins to the setting, so I can do my own another day.
…Well, kinda. You’ll see:
Missing My So-Called Life? Check out MTV’s Awkward! – by An Nicholson
Jenna Hamilton is Angela Chase reborn. “Awkward.” embodies every single thing I loved about “My So-Called Life” and other ’90s teen dramas. Pretty boy Jordan Catalano? Check. Wacky minority friend? Check! Slutty female friend? Check. Check. Check!
- Well written, well directed, with real-sounding (if mannered) dialog, just as you would expect from a series run by HOMICIDE and OZ’s Tom Fontana)
- Strongly evokes the time and place
- Earnest and filled with a concern for justice, social as well as legal