NBC's 'Crisis' hardly thrills viewers

A bus full of the teenage children of Washington, D.C.’s elite leaves from an expensive high school, but never arrives at it’s destination. This is because a highly skilled group of kidnappers stop it, take the students as part of an elaborate plan that may be terrorism, ransom or anything else that's complex and involves copious amounts of double-crossing. An investigation by the FBI ensues, but the kidnappers constantly seem to be one step ahead, thwarting their efforts with technological know-how and a mysterious notebook that has every variable outlined with technical precision.

This is the plot of NBC’s latest thriller, “Crisis,” which premiered Sunday. In short, this show was not good. This was not a surprise though, just a disappointment.

Featuring roles by “X-files” star Gillian Anderson and the actor famous for not being Dylan McDermott, Dermot Mulroney, the previews for “Crisis” were vaguely intriguing in a “Hey, those guys!” sort of way.



But the technology, guns and FBI agents that dominated the ads sent a clear message about the quality and originality of the sure-to-be short lived series.

From the first scene, barely adequate acting and annoyingly unrealistic dialogue bedevil the show. It seems the creators took every chance for cliché and exploited it with no skill in execution.

In one absolutely cringe-worthy example, a video of one of the kidnapped students is played so her mother can “just see her.” In it the 16-year-old innocently giggles while blowing bubbles. Really?

Obviously this was an attempt to tug at the heartstrings of the audience, but instead it was just awkward and hard to watch.

The characters themselves were uninspired as well. Of the busload of students taken, we focus on only a few, and they cover most of the classic teen archetypes.

One of these is the overused love triangle composed of the dignified outcast yearning for the perky popular girl who’s actually more than just a pretty face, and the outcast’s unremarkable female friend who is secretly in love with him.

Add these played-out elements to the tiresome plot reminiscent of the worst of “Taken” and “Olympus Has Fallen,” and you’ve got a recipe for mediocrity.

The only part of this show that had any redeeming value was the side-plot featuring a chubby, dorky youngster separated from the group by being dorky and chubby, and a secret service agent heroic and handsome enough for everybody to like him. Unfortunately though, this is resolved and over by the end of the first episode.

It is worth noting that even though “Crisis” has proved itself unworthy of further viewing, the previews for next week looked like the action level might increase, so that might make it not so much of a chore to watch.

Reach the reporter at shmartin@asu.edu or follow him on Twitter @shmartin09

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