Friday, 2 April 2010

First Impressions: The Nine

With the impending holidays I’ve not had chance this week to spotlight Caprica, however I do intend to do so early next week. Also this week’s Round Up may be a little later than usual (Monday probably) but it will go up. However until then, enjoy The Nine Title Cardmy ramblings on the pilot episode of the short lived ABC drama “The Nine”.

The Nine is a show I’ve been trying to watch for two years, ever since I discovered the Anthony Cooper comedy Kitchen Confidential. Why? Owain Yeoman. However, it’s early cancellation makes it particularly difficult to track down.

The Nine is one of those shows that works really well in a pitch to Tv Execs, but it doesn’t translate well to the screen. The core concept is that a Bank Robbery takes place, we see fifteen minutes prior to the robbery where each of the “Nine” characters are set Nick Cavanaughup and then we flash to 52 hours later, as the robbery comes to a close and everything we thought we knew seems to have changed. Each subsequent episode, as I understand it, will show us 10-15 minutes of the Robbery before flashing forwards to the present and as the series progresses we will slowly understand what happened in the bank and how it has affected the lives of the Nine characters.

When it started I really liked the show. That first section setting up the characters is done really well. Everyone’s states of mind are very clearly depicted. Even if you knew nothing about the show going in, you would know within a minute or so that it was going to focus on a bank robbery. You would also Eva Riosknow exactly what kinds of characters you were dealing with…

There is Eva Rios (played by Lourdes Benedicto, 24) she plays the girl next door, beautiful, intelligent, shy but in a sexy way and she is interested in the renegade cop Nick Cavanaugh (Tim Daly). Nick, although an excellent cop, has found himself being constantly overlooked simply because he doesn’t do what is expected of him. Eva also has a flirty (younger) sister Franny Jeremy(Camille Guaty) who we expect will be a bit of a trouble causer.

On the other side of the bank we have the down to earth, family orientated Bank Manager Malcolm Jones (Chi McBride) and his daughter Naomi (Kim Staunton). We have the suicidal Egan Foote who comes across as your stereotypical trainspotter played by John Billingsley.

Lawyer Kathryn Hale (Kim Raver, 24) is a no-nonsense go getter, with an aging mother who is frankly getting to be a bit of handful. There is the young couple in love Lizzie and Jeremy (Jessica Collins & Scott Wolfe) and finally the two bad guys. The hardened Lucas and Randallcriminal Randall Reese (Jeffery Pierce) and the cautious, unintentional burglar Lucas Dalton played by Owain Yeoman.

Now that information is delivered very quickly, faster even than it took me to write it all out for you. The relationships are built up and we feel we know these characters (or at least the character types) long before Randall knocks out the security guard.

However… What follows is a crazy mixed up mess. The problem with “The Nine” is that the Bank Robbery is the hook. We want to Egan Footeknow why Lucas is no longer armed, how Eva got shot, what Jeremy did to cause Lizzie to break up with him. Therefore the Robbery is the most interesting part 0f the story. But it is also only a third of the episode. That means that the aftermath has to be as exciting, but the aftermath is based on what happened in the bank.

This leads to a lot of “You remember that thing that happened that we’re not talking about but was really important?”  “Yeah?” “Well now it has significant relevancy and I wish I could explain myself but to keep up the air of mystery I’ve been sworn to secrecy.” You get the picture. For the last half an hour of the pilot stuff was happening that made no sense, there Jessicawere no prolonged scenes, everything was in bits. It was difficult to follow and I watch LOST.

The second major problem with the format is to do with just how relevant can the Bank Robbery be? After a while it will become secondary to the aftermath anyway… assuming that they didn’t find a hatch buried in the bank somewhere with a button you have to push every 108 minutes anyway.

Overall I really enjoyed the start and I’m interested to find out what happened in the bank but I can completely understand why the show failed to capture an Kathryn Haleaudience. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe the format is “that” clever, but from just watching the pilot I’m afraid I just don't see it.

This has been My Let Down Two Cents… until next time.

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