TV Review: ABC’s ‘Zero Hour’ with Anthony Edwards Wastes Your Time

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CHICAGOABC’s “Zero Hour,” premiering tonight, February 14, 2013 in the deadly time slot recently occupied by shows like “Missing” and “Last Resort,” is a defiantly silly show. It is the network’s latest attempt to recreate the black swan that was “Lost,” and, in many ways, it’s the worst attempt yet. Nonsensical dialogue, non-characters, clunky plotting, and sub-par production values, “Zero Hour” is a waste of time. Television Rating: 1.5/5.0
Television Rating: 1.5/5.0

Hank Galliston (the still-charismatic Anthony Edwards, in his first weekly show since “ER”) publishes Modern Skeptic Magazine (of COURSE), a publication that seeks to debunk worldwide conspiracies like the one he’s about to fall into. The lifting of the veil that covers history begins when Hank’s wife Laila (Jacinda Barrett) is kidnapped from her antique clock shop. Why would anyone abduct Laila? What did she know or have? It turns out she bought an antique clock that day that may hold the key to unlocking long-hidden chapters in history that involve the Nazis, the Apostles, and eternal life.

Zero Hour
Zero Hour
Photo credit: ABC

Before he has any idea what’s going on, Hank is jetting off to try and track his wife, who he now knows is in the hands of the mysterious White Vincent (Michael Nyqvist of the original “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”), with the help of FBI agent Beck Riley (Carmen Ejogo) and his two assistants, Rachel (Addison Timlin) and Arron (Scott Michael Foster). With a premiere that is almost entirely plot-driven, practically every scene features a new revelation or twist in the history mystery.

Zero Hour
Zero Hour
Photo credit: ABC

With echoes of “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “The Da Vinci Code,” and “National Treasure,” “Zero Hour” clearly taps into something entertaining in our pop culture. We love the idea that history is not what we were taught in school and that even an average guy could stumble into the greatest cover-up that time has ever known. However, you may notice that those three reference points are pretty old now. We’ve grown a bit tired of “Da Vinci Code” rip-offs as it has been proven over and over again that this type of material is harder to pull off than it looks. It’s not just a Mad Libs of history talking points. The mysteries still need to be well-crafted and interesting. They’re neither here.

Clearly, someone behind “Zero Hour” saw the failure of recent shows that provided more questions than answers and so the pace of the program has been sped up to ridiculous degrees. A desire to give people answers and not succumb to Dharma fatigue has led to a rushed tone that’s just nonsense. Everyone is running, yelling, deducing. It’s like a cartoon at times or a spoof of “National Treasure” more than a show that’s just trying to repeat that property’s success.

Is there any reason for hope in “Zero Hour”? Edwards is a strong lead and Nyqvist is a quality casting decision for a villain. Future episodes of “Zero Hour” just need to be less cluttered and more fun. Have a good time with the ridiculousness of it all. Don’t play it so straight. Or give us characters to care about. You can’t have it both ways. Go pure camp with no real drama or give us honest characters. No camp and no character developments only leads to zero.

“Zero Hour” stars Anthony Edwards, Jacinda Barrett, Michael Nyqvist, Addison Timlin, Scott Michael Foster, and Carmen Ejogo. It premieres on ABC on February 14, 2013 at 7pm CST. content director Brian Tallerico

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