Hostages :: Television review


Hostages (2013)
Mondays on CBS
Pilot, September 23


Hostages was on the “not all that interested” list for me, despite that fact that the two main actors, Toni Collette and Dylan McDermott are favorites of mine. I think my main hesitation was that I did not see how the premise could last for a television series, as the idea of a family being held hostage in their home seemed to be more of a one or two episode story arc, or the plot for a two-hour film. With a little research, though, I see that the network intends it to be a “limited series” of 15 episodes to tell the story, non-stop, with no repeats.

What does that mean for a second season? As we just experienced with CBS and the idea of a “limited series“, with this recent past Summer’s Under the Dome, if the ratings are strong then the network changes its mind and forces the story to stretch to multiple seasons. I am all for a single shot, mini-series type of storytelling, or an anthology style by season a’la American Horror Story, but have to pause and wonder if the network will allow that to happen (of course, this all hinges on the show doing well in the ratings).

Anyways, I digress, this is meant to be my overall reaction to the pilot, right? I was reminded of a recent episode of last season’s The Americans, where a woman’s son is held in a “medical hostage situation” in order to push said woman to accomplish a task of espionage. It may not have been murder, but the emotion and feelings of claustrophobia were all present and accounted for. I also found myself thinking of the recent BBC “limited series” offering, Broadchurch, due to the uncovering of secrets in a seemingly “normal” family (though Broadchurch’s pilot episode was miles above this one).  To be honest, I found myself contemplating similarities and wondering how the show will manage to play out, more than I found myself invested in the characters or actual plot.

I did have questions. I did have moments of discussing with my husband what might be the underlying plot, and his theory that this was all an elaborate ruse to test the doctor’s (Toni Collette) loyalty was intriguing, but I am quite sure too complicated for it to be the actual story. Honestly, I did not feel myself caring for anyone yet, nor experiencing the reaction to the suspense or storytelling. The Blacklist pilot served up much more mystery, tension and excitement, for me. I just was not moved by the way the story was told, so far.


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