I had an idea how this would go before I watched these two pilots. From reading the reviews, I was pretty sure The Blacklist would be better. It was.
Hostages is not great TV. The show tried to set up the backstory of every character before the first commercial break. It just feels very forced. When Dillon McDermott’s character (the FBI agent) is introduced, he turns around slowly to reveal himself in response to the question, “who gave this order?” (or something) and predictably says “I did.” He then proceeds to take one of those huge TV risks to capture the bad guy, is successful and cocky about it, and this cheesy music plays while he walks away. I had to re-play it to see if he walked away in slow motion because I remembered it being so ridiculous. He walked away normal speed, apparently, I just remembered it in slow motion.
Hostages was explained by one of its creators as Downton Abbey meets 24. I guess the Downton Abbey part comes from the fact that everyone in this family being held hostage had a secret. Maybe some more interesting stuff is coming, but we found out half way through in the first episode what everyone’s secret was and they weren’t that interesting. (spoiler alert!) One kid is dealing drugs, one is pregnant, and the dad is having an affair. Who cares? Something bigger is going on the with FBI agent. We don’t know what it is yet, but it seems to be slightly more interesting. This is no Downton Abbey. Where is the smart humor and the over the top, kind of making fun of itself but also being serious, drama?
The 24 part, I assume, is because the time span of the actual events will not be very long (more than 24 hours though) and will be spread out over many episodes. So far, there is not enough action for me to compare Hostages to 24 and our hero is no Jack Bauer. (I am not even sure who the hero is.)
The first episode ends with a cheesy statement from the surgeon mom, Toni Collette. The episode started and ended with major cheese.
The Blacklist, is much better. It may not be completely original, but it is better TV than Hostages. It is compelling, has unexpected twists and turns in the pilot, and we care about the characters. We also have a lot of mysteries that we actually want to know the answers too! Why is James Spader working with the FBI? Why does he ONLY want to work with this rookie FBI agent? How does he know all of these details about her life? (Is he her father? Is that possible?) Is the actress playing the rookie FBI agent wearing a wig? (her hair looks very strange to me, but I may be the only person who had that question). Why does the guy in this show who was also on Homeland seem like a much worst actor on this show? (and did he change his hair color?)
I don’t want to give anything away about The Blacklist because you should watch it and it will be more fun if I don’t say any more. It’s no Homeland but it’s decent.
Thumbs down for Hostages. Thumbs up for The Blacklist.