Zero potential: ABC’s newest history infused sci-fi drama TV show “Zero Hour” confuses audiences with conflicting story lines

You’re curled up on the couch with your significant other, looking for a show to end the perfect Valentine’s Day. You turn on the television and what do you see? Nazis, underground religious societies, immortal demonic babies and frozen-to-death humans inside a World War II military contraption.

Exactly what you were looking for, right? At least that’s what the executives at ABC must have thought when they decided to premiere a history and science fiction drama on one of the most romantic days of the year.

ABC’s new history, sci-fi drama “Zero Hour” did not rack up the numbers it was expecting. The premiere earned 6.3 million viewers, ABC’s lowest-rated in-season premiere for a scripted show ever. And it wasn’t just because it premiered on Valentine’s Day.

The premiere’s trailer advertised “Zero Hour”as a mix between “The Da Vinci Code,” “LOST” and the “National Treasure”movies. But at the end of 60 minutes, viewers were left in a sense of frustration and utter confusion. People expected more from “Prison Break”creator Paul Scheuring.

“Zero Hour” revolves around the life of Modern Skeptic Magazine editor Hank Galliston — played by “ER”star Anthony Edwards — and the journey he must take to find his kidnapped wife, Laila. His wife’s captor is after one thing and one thing only: a strange diamond inside the antique clock Laila bought before her disappearance. Viewers learn these diamonds are connected to both achieving and controlling eternal life. Thus, it is clear that in the process of finding his wife, Hank will also be finding the diamonds and uncovering the truth of their power.

Yes, this mix of history, religion and science fiction allows for an intriguing plotline, but the problem is that the writers were all over the place with the show’s premise.

First, “Zero Hour”appears to be about a husband trying to find his kidnapped wife. However, the show ends with a clockmaker telling Hank’s employees about the connection between the 12 new apostles, the Nazi regime and eternal life. While this conversation is taking place, shots of a demonic baby with translucent eyeballs fill the screen.

If you are lost at this point, don’t worry, because I was, too.

Perhaps the writers intended for the pilot of “Zero Hour” to create a mix of confusion and fascination. But in using this strategy, the writers also run the risk of frustrating viewers to the point where they do not care enough to continue.

In addition to jumping around while uncovering the plotline, the pilot also exhibited logical problems. If Hank is the editor of a pretty successful magazine, where is the rest of his staff? Does he only have two employees? What will happen to the magazine now that Hank is making impromptu trips across the world in search of his wife?

Additionally, I hope more character development takes place in upcoming episodes, because the lack of human emotion was truly cringe-worthy. Why does Hank display almost no emotion when he finds out his wife has been kidnapped? A few sniffles, a brief embrace with an employee and that’s it. This is either a result of poor acting or extremely dull writing. Whatever the case may be, the cast and crew of “Zero Hour” need to get their act together.

Who knows, maybe once the writers figure out in which direction they want to take the plot, “Zero Hour”will be able to survive and compete against the plethora of already established and successful dramas. After all, that’s what happened with Mike Kelley’s “Revenge.”


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