Hunters premieres April 11th on the Syfy Channel. Don't let the spoilers hurt you.
I'm usually dumbfounded by professional reviewers who sum up, after only two episodes of a 13-run series, to "utterly generic, conceptually cynical and instantly forgettable." My, my, such certainty from Brian Lowry at Variety. Dude, it's the first two episodes. Chill. How can you say the series feels "totally disposable"? It just started.
Yes, the characters are pushing perfunctory--so far, but we have a ways to go before dismissing this Australian production so expediently. The dialog needs some tweaking, too: saying self-evident things like "I'll need full forensics" or naive things (but with a nice twist) like "we don't negotiate with terrorists, even alien ones" is non-caffeine fueled key-pounding. But there's mystery here and cool sonic blaster guns (anyone old enough to remember Wham-O's Air Blaster?) that pack a visual kick; and, for die-hards, there's plenty of gooey, squishy, plopping-sound closeups, neck-ripping, and chests that open like mouths do, giving The Thing, V, and Alien Invaders vibe.
I haven't read the novel, Alien Hunter, this series is based on, but if the Ritalin-challenged Emme (Shannon Berry) doesn't show, in the next episodes, a story-driven reason for taking up screen time, I'll start feeling as ill as she does. She's the young, multi-spectrum and self-destructive, ward of FBI Agent Flynn (Nathan Phillips), who took her in after her dad, his partner, died.
Guilt, insufficient counseling, and post traumatic stress keep Flynn from playing or working well with others, except his wife Abby (Laura Gordon), but she's kidnapped by one of the alien terrorists. That event brings Flynn into the Exo-Terrorism Unit--a hush hush group few know about--run by Truss Jackson (Lewis Fitz-Gerald). Truss, however, answers to a tough, no frills, female boss. With both of them of few words, the conversations they have are short and also perfunctory.
Once inside the unit, Flynn gets to know the impetuous, she's-one-of-them!, Regan (Britne Oldford), and, resentful she's-one-of-them!, Briggs (Mark Coles Smith). Two agents who, in spite of their relationship friction, manage to get along well enough to survive. Creating more friction, there's a mole in the group and vital information is being leaked.
As to the vital information regarding why Abby was kidnapped, or what the alien "hunters" are all about, the first two episodes will leave you in the dark and hopefully wanting to find out. Intriguingly, alien cells appear to be dormant in some humans, brought to activity by playing a specific pop-synth music filled with hidden tracks made up of alien instructions and dire warnings. A typical tech-geek guy on the payroll analyzed the music and found this out. (Note to casting: goth girls with ponytails are more attention-getting when tech-geek-speak is spoken.) More attention-getting also would be to use less hand-held camera wooziness. It's the scripters that need the caffeine, not the camera people. Some levity wouldn't kill us either. Everything's so 24 important and gloomy.
Providing the key villainy is McCarthy (Julian McMahon). Aside from showing some cheek (both in fact), he's playing it just short of scene-chewing, so the story's momentum is being driven by his actions so far. He has a fascination for Flynn that goes beyond the abduction of Abby, and he spends too much time in music stores he eventually blows up. Much of the mystery centers around him and his grand scheme, especially after he demonstrates his imperviousness to death.
There's a Hollywood Reporter article dated October 2013, regarding Gale Anne Hurd's development of Alien Hunter into a 90-minute Syfy movie. How it morphed into this series is probably typical of such development projects, but expanding into 13 episodes means there's more to unfold as the storyline develops. So I'll be watching, even if Mr. Lowry isn't.
And I don't get paid to watch.
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