Is possible to deal with a major life event and not become embroiled in an even more dangerous conspiracy? That's part of the premise of ABC's new show "Zero Hour," which had some potential but the overall storyline needed some major tinkering to make to a second season.
"Zero Hour" followed Hank Galliston (Anthony Edwards) made a career of debunking myths and various conspiracies with the magazine that he zealously ran, but he was forced to uncover a major conspiracy of his own. Hank was shocked after his wife Laila (Jacinda Barrett) was abducted from her antique clock shop in connection to a mysterious clock that she received. He crossed paths with FBI Agent Rebecca Riley (Carmen Ejogo) who had a connection with the man who kidnapped Laila. This mysterious villain was known only as White Vincent (Michael Nyquist) who had a dark plan that could threaten to destroy the world as everyone knew it. Luckily, Hank had help from his devoted employees Rachel (Addison Timlin) and Arron (Scott Michael Foster) to help find some truths that even he couldn't fathom. Will Hank be able to find his wife or die trying to save the world from an unknown fate?
In terms of questions, the biggest one wasn't whether Hank would be able to save everyone, because Edwards played his character in a way that viewers would root for him no matter what he did on-screen. The question that seemed to plague viewers throughout the course of the series premiere was whether the show had the staying power to survive for a full season or even make it to a second one. The show's plot seemed to be taking many cues from past conspiracy thrillers, such as "The Da Vinci Code," but the story now lacked a sense of urgency that was in the movie. The show's overall story also was missing a clear purpose. Sure, there was a dark and dangerous conspiracy going on, but what led to Hank's wife being kidnapped and the fate of the world depending on some mysterious diamonds. The premiere should've spent more time setting up Laila's abduction and made it the moment that ended the episode instead of the catalyst. If Hank was made a greater part of the conspiracy through his magazine, this direction could've given Edwards' character more of a stronger purpose than simply searching for random clues. That idea would've also given Laila's kidnapping a stronger emotional context as well. Unfortunately, it's too early to say what Hank's true role in the unfolding conspiracy, which should be big because he's the show's main character. Only time will tell if that's the case.
As for breakout stars, Edwards and Ejogo led the way as a pair of mismatched partners looking for answers as to why their loved ones were taken from their so suddenly. Edwards' return to television was a welcome one, because he gave Hank a sense of quiet strength and vulnerability that made him an intellectual television. That feat might not have been as successful if another actor was chosen for the role. He gave Hank the right amount of humanity and anxiety as he tried to stay one step ahead of a lethal terrorist who was a complete mystery to everyone. Edwards also had a comfortable rapport with Barrett, but their limited screentime together in the premiere didn't give them much time to explore their on-screen relationship. Hopefully, future episodes will remedy that through flashbacks. In terms of Ejogo's role on the show, it's unclear whether she was truly a heroine or a villain in disguise. She gave her character a mixture of grit and mystery as she tried to find answers that she might not be comfortable finding out. Viewers will likely get a better sense of Ejogo's character as the season progresses.
"Zero Hour" premiered on February 14th and airs Thursdays at 8:00 PM on ABC.
Verdict: Edwards' return to television was a welcome one, but it's a shame that the show wasn't entirely up to par plot wise just yet.
TV Score: 2 out of 5 stars
1 Star (Mediocre)
2 Stars (Averagely Entertaining)
3 Stars (Decent Enough to Pass Muster)
4 Stars (Near Perfect)
5 Stars (Gold Standard)