NBC’s workhorse “E.R.” ran for 15 seasons from 1994 to 2009, which is an amazing feat we likely won’t see again. Still a large part of that success comes from the series’ large ensemble, which in the years after they left the show have each gone on to new television projects. The most notable exception has been Anthony Edwards, who tonight finally makes his long awaited return to TV with the premiere of ABC’s “Zero Hour.”
The average expected life span of a successful TV series is usually around eight seasons which is exactly how long Edwards’ was on “E.R.” During that time he was part of what is arguably one of the most successful casts in TV history. Alongside names like George Clooney, Julianna Margulies, Eriq LaSalle and Noah Wyle, Edwards was part of something special.
It’s because of how beloved he was on “E.R.” that the stakes are so high for “Zero Hour.” Debuting tonight, Edwards stars as Hank Galliston, the editor of a magazine for skeptics who must question his own beliefs following his wife’s kidnapping. Playing out over 13 episodes, the series sees Galliston, along with his allies (“Californication’s” Addison Timlin and “Greek’s” Scott Michael Foster) uncovering the same mysteries and conspiracies they usually would debunk and realizing there may really be forces of evil at play.
Yet “Zero Hour’s” timeslot is also something of a mystery itself as ABC has not been able to launch a hit show in that window since “Ugly Betty” in 2006. The network had high hopes this year for success with the debut of “Last Resort,” but the sub drama starring Andre Braugher sunk in the ratings and now ABC’s has called up “Hour” to pitch hit.
While a critical favorite “Resort’s” failure was attributed to a combination of things included its male-centric plot and its very serialized nature; which are two things it actually has in common with “Zero Hour.” It’s also hard to fathom why ABC would think Valentine’s Day would be an ideal launching pad for the show, because after all nothing says “I Love You” like mortal danger and cover-ups.
Simply put the odds are stacked against the series. However for those people that do choose to watch, they won’t be disappointed. “Zero Hour” is a clever drama with a likeable cast and enough charm to keep its viewers coming back week to week. Although as he told USA Today’s Bill Keveney yesterday, executive producer Zack Estrin wants to make one thing clear…you will get answers.
"We're going to tell a complete story in 13 episodes and not make you hang around for eight years to get your answers. Time is really valuable now. People like to know, 'If I invest, am I definitely going to get my answer?'”
Estrin is dead on with the above statement and that’s why this mix of “Indiana Jones” and “National Treasure,” could work if given the chance. Still that’s unfortunately a big “if” given a number of factors.
“Zero Hour” debuts tonight at 8 p.m. on ABC.