If you watch as much television as I do (and really, you shouldn’t) you start to realize that shows on each network have a distinct feel to them. It’s largely intangible and hard to describe (it probably has something to do with how they request their finished shows to be delivered.) This is not necessarily a good thing or bad thing; it’s just a thing.
Zero Hour feels very much like an ABC show. ABC is not known for serious drama, especially in the last few seasons. ABC’s hour-long programming has a soapier feel, like Desperate Housewives, or a more Disney feel, like Once Upon a Time. It doesn’t do “dark” very well, and I think that is going to be the downfall of Zero Hour.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Zero Hour is an interesting blend of The Da Vinci Code, National Treasure, and The Omen. It focuses on some kind of secret that could bring about the apocalypse. That secret was hidden in 1938, when the Nazi party rose to significant power and was the greatest threat to the world. Clearly there is a lot more going on here, but you can only glean so much from a 42 minute pilot.
Because this is an ABC story, the darker aspects (a demon baby, the apocalypse, ancient demonic languages) are glossed over in favor of this being a love story. The adventuring goodies are couched in the soft, squishy shell of Anthony Edwards’s love for his wife, Jacinda Barrett, who is kidnapped by one of the FBI’s most wanted criminals. Even though Edwards’s character is the editor of a skeptics magazine, he goes on this journey not for the truth, but for love. So on the one hand, you have these over-the-top swells of music meant to play on your emotions... but then you have Nazi demon babies (well, one Nazi demon baby - do you need more than one?)
I will say that this has certainly piqued my interest, and I will tune in for a couple more episodes. But like fall’s 666 Park Avenue, I think Zero Hour is going to be too dark for people who are watching ABC for Grey’s Anatomy, and too sappy for people looking for Nazi demon babies. I give it six episodes.
Zero Hour premieres on February 14th at 8pm on ABC