Dave’s 4-Word Review:
Captivating, Intriguing, and Original
As a general rule, I’ve always been a strong supporter and fan of self-aware television shows and movies. By self-aware, I mean shows within a show, or a movie within a movie. This may have been brought on by Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 1993 hit film, “Last Action Hero”, where Arnie plays himself, as well as his character on screen when a young boy is thrown into the theater’s screen via a magic movie ticket. How about in “New Nightmare”, the final film in the original “Nightmare on Elm Street” where the character of Freddy Krueger comes to our world and wreaks havoc on the original cast members of the first film. That is so amazing. I loved that movie, and I love it whenever a show or movie decides to do something like it. Amazingly, this is a rare concept. It is a concept that CW’s new show, “Cult” has decided to use.
The first episode opens up following around the life of Billy Grimm (Robert Knepper), who is obviously the leader of a cult that is planning something terrible. Basically, no one understands why, but when someone utters a phrase, they end up killing themselves uncontrollably. For the first few minutes, this is what we understand, and we really don’t know what to think of the show yet, until it zooms out and we see the credits roll for CW’s popular show, “Cult”, on a TV in the show itself, with people watching. Mind blown, I personally am already hooked because that is the kind of concept I am interested in. The show goes on to introduce us to Matthew Davis, who plays Jeff Sefton, a man whose brother just went missing…supposedly at the hands of this strange TV show. A conspiracy seems to boil up, and it unwraps more questions as it continues.
I both love the show and fear for it for a number of reasons. I love it, because there are so many possibilities to use with the concept. I wanted “Last Action Hero” to get a sequel or release an extended version, or something else where the movie wouldn’t end. There is so much undiscovered territory around the idea alone. At the same time, this can be a terrible, terrible thing. Undiscovered also means that they haven’t found the flaws. This means the show can be huge if people gave it a chance, and if it went down the right path, but it could also be a terrible failure if they take a single wrong turn.
The acting isn’t half bad. Right now, only Knepper seems to shine bright as the memorable actor. This may be because of his character’s mysterious nature, but Knepper is pretty known to hold at least a moderate level of memorableness. The rest of the cast have a bit to go before people will be able to picture their faces in their mind without looking at pictures. That can be a problem for some, maybe not for others. Basically, what you have to do here, is just….give the show a chance.
All in all, this is a tremendous risk for CW. It seems to be right in their alley, and their fans would certainly love it. Robert Knepper has always had a knack for being creepy, and his efforts shine bright still. The only question that remains here is if this big risk also means a big reward, or if it means going into a show while blind? Honestly, only time can tell as the show has only aired but two episodes. So far, it remains intact and intriguing, so here’s to hoping it continues on that path, and doesn’t trip all over itself (as some CW shows have had the misfortune of doing).