Finally, the story is picking up speed and things are happening. Well, relatively speaking. I still feel like INTRUDERS is spinning its wheels dragging out Madison/Marcus’ quest to get wherever he/she is going. And I’m really not sure how good a cop Jack was, since his entire investigation has been very rudimentary and somewhat random. He needs help.
It was good to see Robert Forster would be back – both because I predicted he would be (whew!) and because he always lends a sense of gravitas to whatever scene he’s in, and this story could use the weight. (Not to be confused with the leaden storytelling pace, of course.)
Finally, an excellent episode of INTRUDERS – one in which things actually happened and we could appreciate those things – and actually understand some of it, instead of turning away from the TV muttering, “WTF did I just watch?”
There was a palpable sense of suspense for the very first time. This time, writer Glen Morgan and director Eduardo Sanchez remembered Alfred Hitchcock’s rule for how to create suspense: by giving the audience information. True, Hitch meant giving us more than the characters get, and we’re not quite there yet, but… baby steps…
Finally, some exposition! Finally, we get to learn a little bit about what has been happening. And, finally, some of my suspicions have been confirmed. See, it really isn’t all that hard to explain to the audience what is happening, INTRUDERS; all your mystery is not gone. In fact, we have new ones.
As the show was hinting, Richard Shepherd has been working off the books on the Marcus/Madison case – we just had no idea how far off the books he’s been working! Marcus asked him to shepherd him and bring him back when the time is right – so “shepherding” appears to be a different step than merely bringing someone back.
On the plus side, BBC America’s INTRUDERS director Eduardo Sánchez and scripter Glen Morgan seem a bit more interested in telling a story rather than obfuscating their tale this week, but on the negative side, the narrative was too on-the-nose this time. Unlike last week’s premiere, The episode may have been packed with exposition, but it was given to us via info-dump dialogue and voice-overs, which is amateurish and, frankly, beneath longtime THE X-FILES producer Morgan and former DOCTOR WHO producer Julie Gardner, the braintrust behind INTRUDERS.
I know, I know, I’m having a very hard time getting into this series; maybe you aren’t. But forget about a secret society of people trying to return from the dead; I believe this series was rushed to air way before it was ready. The scripts are obtuse and wildly meandering, and the characters are complete ciphers – and that’s a major, major shortcoming in a series which depends on the viewer recognizing that people are acting out of character. How the hell should we know if Amy speaking a foreign language or dancing to jazz is unusual for her? Oh, her husband just tells us it’s strange. Bad storytelling!
Can you keep a secret? The debut episode of INTRUDERS kinda sucked. The pilot played as intentionally vague and purposely confusing – as if being obtuse made it somehow deeper. I felt like I was on the outside of the show looking in – and the people inside were all old friends who weren’t interested in letting me in on the joke. I know it sounds weird to want more of something bad, but this show could have benefited from a two-hour debut. But only if we would have gotten more exposition, not more mysteries.
(BBC America’s INTRUDERS did well in the ratings, pulling in 1.5 million viewers, Variety says, according to Nielsen’s “live plus-3″ estimates.)
I was prepared to hate NBC’s newest superhero series, THE CAPE. After all, it looked pretty campy, and I just happen to hate circus settings, so things did not look good at the start. Luckily, THE CAPE improved steadily over the course of its inaugural hour.
THE CAPE is refreshingly free of overt camp and snarkiness; at least the initial two hours played the story straight. And the tale was a surprisingly straightforward superhero origin tale: Vince Faraday (David Lyons) was a cop wrongly accused of a crime, and then presumed dead in one of those amazingly unlikely explosions in which no body is found. But he survived, and undertook special training with a mentor to mold himself into a living weapon to strike at his nemesis, corporate mogul Peter Fleming (James Frain) a man so powerful he is untouchable by conventional justice. Vince keeps his true identity a secret in order to protect his loved ones from that menace (who has a sort of villain name of his own, being known as the murderer “Chess”), and yearns to clear his name so his son can grow up proud. That’s a lot of comic baggage for one show. Toss in a sexy sidekick, and you have a TV show.