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Hunters - The Beginning & The End - Review

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I have been looking forward to this pilot for a few months. Unfortunately, it didn’t live up to my expectations. I hadn’t seen any of the trailers, nor was I aware of the book the series is based on, so I went into the pilot with no information and came out not knowing much more.

The pilot opens with a woman in a cage bleeding from her ears. She seems to be in physical pain from the music being played. Then we get the card that announces “72 Hours Earlier” card and we’re dropped into the middle of some type of military raid that includes an idiot that ignores orders not to go into an unknown situation without back up and gets a guy killed.

Characters doing incredibly stupid things is one of my pet peeves and the show started losing me right there. It makes more sense by the end of the episode but, at this point, it turned me off of the character.

This is the kind of setup that works best when the audience is in on the stakes. When they care about the characters or the story and we haven’t had time to connect to either.

The introduction of Ryan was bit better handled. We find out quite a bit about him before his wife is kidnapped. He’s become the guardian of a teenaged girl with some issues and is currently on administrative leave from the FBI. The evaluation scene is so badly written that I was at a bit of a loss as to why he’s on leave. What exactly was his “questionable behavior”? Ryan’s “official inquiry” doesn’t sound like one. The FBI is aware that he has PTSD but they don’t require him to get into therapy.

He has flashbacks that leave me thinking he went through some type of trauma but was it on the job or when he was in the military. The plot element is so poorly handled that I have no idea why he was pulled from the field.

The one character that does strike a note with me is written out of the show almost immediately. The teenaged girl Ryan has taken in is a breath of fresh air because of her mental issues. She’s also the only character that the writers don’t tap dance around. She is unsecure in this new living arrangement and Ryan seems intent on making her feel wanted, but then the minute she has an issue at school she’s shuttled off to a “therapeutic boarding school.” So the one thing I was liking about this character was removed.

Finally after forty-five minutes into the episode they finally get around to sort of revealing the story. The Hunters the show is named for are the bad guys the ETU is chasing. Confusing. What do they want? No on knows. We just know they’re harming humans as the hunt for whatever it is they’re hunting for. I can accept that. The ETU agent who got her partner killed in the pilot is one of them. That is interesting.

The pilot suffered from being so worried about revealing too much to the audience too early. The problem is that instead they revealed too little. I have watched a lot of bad pilots for shows I ended up really liking. The vital element that got me to tune into the second episode of those shows was the characters.

Unfortunately, they only gave me one character that was interesting enough to tune in for, Em. In addition to being interesting on her own she made Ryan more interesting as well. But, they’ve removed her from the show. I will tune into the second episode to see if the writing shows any signs of improvement, but if it doesn’t I won’t be watching a third.

I am curious. What did those of you who read the book think of the show?

About the Author - Prpleight
Prpleight is a screenwriter and senior software engineer with solid geek cred. When not writing code, screenplays, or watching TV (sometimes she does all three at the same time), she uses her broadsword Bessie to battle evil. She's been a frequent contributor to the SpoilerTV discussion boards for several years now.
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