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First Impressions – Crisis

There’s a disturbing trend in television these days.  Shows are seemingly being greenlit based solely off of a single season premise.  It feels like networks are either planning for their new shows to be cancelled throughout their first season run, or they are simply not planning ahead and thinking about what will happen when their initial plot comes to conclusion.  This trend perfectly encapsulates NBC’s Crisis.

It can be really hard for an FBI agent sometimes

It can be really hard for an FBI agent sometimes

When a group of teenage children, who happen to have the most powerful parents in the nation, are taken hostage on their way to a class field trip, a chain of events is put into motion that will become a media frenzy.  The sons and daughters of CEO’s; high ranking government agents and, of course, the son of the President of the United States being ripped from their school bus at gunpoint and taken to a remote location where they remain virtually untraceable will have that kind of effect on our media-happy society.  Throw in the fact that almost all of the moving parts seem to be either someone held hostage themselves or a parent acting out of fear for their child’s safety and you have a recipe for a very intense and suspenseful season of television.

That’s where the problem comes in, though.  Let me get this straight, I’ve loved the first two episodes of Crisis, it’s been some of the most intriguing television I’ve seen in the past few months.  I worry, however, that there isn’t an end-game for the series.  If it were to be picked up for more than a season, will this become a hostage situation that is dragged out for far too long, unrealistically spanning the course of three, four or even five seasons?  Or, instead, will the show lose that hook it currently has, and go from a hostage show to your simple run-of-the-mill espionage thriller, where it will be in serious danger of getting lost in the weeds?  My concern is that either of these will be true.

Marcus and Anton have great chemistry, and Anton is probably my favorite part of the show so far.

Marcus and Anton have great chemistry, and Anton is probably my favorite part of the show so far.

I’m not the biggest fan of your standard show that works in high military or police drama without some sort of additional element to stand out from the crowd, which Crisis currently has.  From the moment the bus is attacked, and we are introduced to Secret Service Agent Marcus Finley (Lance Gross) I became attached.  A rookie on his first day of protective detail in the Secret Service, Marcus was called up when the usual detail for the president’s son suddenly becomes ill, and needs a stand-in.  Finley is soon betrayed by his legendary partner, Agent Hurst, and left for dead while losing nearly the entire cargo of important children.

One of the smartest things that Crisis has done so far, however, was to not have Finley spend his first moments alone, fighting back against insurmountable odds, because he’d either have to succeed in not letting the children get away, or be killed trying.  It’s hard to see any other outcome to a Secret Service agent being alive in the field while his detail has been taken hostage, and both outcomes would have drastically changed the course of the show.  Instead, they gave Marcus a new young person to protect.  Taking advantage of his wounded and ignored position, Marcus takes flight into the woods, but makes sure to get at least one child to safety along with him, the youngest of the students and the impressively intelligent Anton (Joshua Erenberg).  Anton and Marcus have a great rapport by the end of their time together, and Anton’s existence with Marcus gives the Agent a new goal, to make it to safety with this child first, and deal with tracking down the rest of the kidnappers later.

Gillian Anderson is no stranger to television, and she turns in a strong performance in Crisis

Gillian Anderson is no stranger to television, and she turns in a strong performance in Crisis

Marcus isn’t alone in his plight to save these children, though.  FBI Agent Susie Dunn(Rachel Taylor) is on the case, and she has a personal stake in the children’s safety, as her sister, Meg (Gillian Anderson) has a daughter that was on the bus as well though all may not be as it seems there.  Anderson is particularly effective in her role as a shrewd CEO who bounces from cold-hearted and calculating in the business world to scared and tender moments as a mother simply wanting to see her child again.  There are so many pieces to this puzzle that it’s easy to get lost in the fray, but Anderson manages to make the most of her extremely limited screen time up to this point, which may be why she’s been one of the biggest talking points of the series, other than the fact that she’s probably the most recognizable name attached.

There are a ton of twists and turns along the way, including the reveal of just who is behind this entire ordeal, which came out of left field for me, and how far they’ll go to get to their end-goal.  It’s clear that most of these children were taken for very specific reasons, and the fact that the President’s Son seems to be the most inconsequential of the hostages is a great twist, as the media is obviously focusing on him more than anything else.  I’m excited to see where we go from here, even if I worry about the longevity of a story like this.  Luckily, I’ve been surprised by shows in the past, and their ability to turn what should have been a very basic and short-lived tale into a long-running and very successful series, lest we forget about a certain special agent named Bauer and how far-fetched more than a single season of his show seemed at the time.

here's a disturbing trend in television these days.  Shows are seemingly being greenlit based solely off of a single season premise.  It feels like networks are either planning for their new shows to be cancelled throughout their first season run, or they are simply not planning ahead and thinking about what will happen when their initial plot comes to conclusion.  This trend perfectly encapsulates NBC's Crisis. When a group of teenage children, who happen to have the most powerful parents in the nation, are taken hostage…

Review Overview

Crisis - 8

8

Great

Summary : Crisis brings a ton of intrigue and plot twists in it's first two episodes, but leaves concerns for a long-term plan with it's short-term plot.

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About Josh Barnett

Josh Barnett
Josh is a professional Nintendo apologist and self-loathing Carolina Panthers fan. He does NOT like long walks on the beach, rather he prefers strolls through the snow. You can catch him every week on the Free For All Podcast.