|Making a drama out of a Crisis – Gillian Anderson, Rachael Taylor, Lance Gross and Dermot Mulroney|
Watch: starts Friday, 2 January, 9pm
Story: It's field trip day for the students of Ballard High, a school that educates the children of Washington DC's elite – top-of-their-industry CEOs, international diplomats, political power players, and even the President's son. But when their bus is ambushed on a secluded rural road, the teenagers and their chaperones are taken, igniting a national crisis.
GILLIAN ANDERSON must have been bored and at a loose end when she decided to knock out this piece of formulaic US drama. The actress, acclaimed this year for her brilliant performances in The Fall on the BBC and A Streetcar Named Desire at the Young Vic, is a big catch for this NBC thriller – but wasted in a very run-of-the-mill show.
She plays Meg Fitch, CEO of an international IT company, whose daughter is caught up in a kidnapping plot launched by an evil mastermind. This involves abducting a busload of children whose parents are all VIPs, including the President's son and Fitch's teenage girl.
Fitch is also the estranged sister of Susie Dunn (Rachael Taylor), who just happens to be the lead FBI
|Can estranged sisters Susie and Meg work together|
As the blurb says, 'The most powerful people in the world are brought to their knees.' This presupposes that there aren't any powerful people in the world outside of the US, but Crisis is a show that likes to keep things simple.
It's a jolt to see Gillian Anderson in thisDermot Mulroney, perhaps best known for the 1988 film Young Guns and more recently August: Osage County, is Francis Gibson, an ex-CIA man betrayed by the government, who is on the bus chaperoning the kids when the kidnap occurs. He is a complete wuss who is shunned by his daughter, but could be the authorities' best bet to undermine the gang as he is an experienced intelligence man.
While there are 'twists' and several characters are not what they appear to be, the thriller as a whole is so divorced from reality as to be dull to watch. To attract a young audience it is also full of bland, pretty teens making up the abductees.
The biggest mystery about the series is why Gillian Anderson wanted to do it. The role does not stretch her and she could virtually sleepwalk through her scenes. It's almost as disconcerting as seeing Laurence Oliver slumming it in The Betsy or John Gielgud and Helen Mirren in Caligula.
It would seem the major advertising-funded US television networks are having trouble finding their mojo in the wake of the acclaimed series flowing from the likes of subscription services HBO and AMC. Hostages was another new series of 2014 made by a traditional network (CBS) with a fine actor (Toni Collette), but like Crisis it was a thriller that did not thrill, and was dropped after one season.
Check out these links…
Crisis on Watch
Crisis on NBC