Hostages, CBS’s new limited-run thriller (meaning: shorter than normal, but not necessarily a mini-series) (meaning: nothing!), premiered last night, and boy does everyone have a secret! Dylan McDermott is a tough FBI agent/fashion expert who you know is a tough FBI agent/fashion expert right away when he shoots a person who we think is a hostage victim (not one of the Hostages hostage victims, a different one) only to reveal that it was actually the criminal dressed in the hostage’s clothing. How did he know? “Boots didn’t match the suit,” he says. Hahaha. What if he was wrong?! “I wasn’t.” Super smooth, super rule-breaker, super correct, Dylan McDermott. He also has a daughter, a father, and a wife in a coma, and he is the leader of the gang of hostage-takers who want Toni Collette, surgeon hand-picked to perform an operation on the president, to kill the president. The episode opens immediately on the family surrounded by the hostage-takers before it cuts to a “40 minutes earlier” title card, just to assure you that they WILL be held hostage in this episode, so please stay tuned!
Hostages, from the very beginning of its hour-long premiere, felt desperate in its attempt to get you to feel anxious and interested. Which is crazy, because it’s literally about people holding guns to the heads of a family and ordering one of them to murder the president. You don’t need to trick us into being afraid that someone is around a corner, and then show us that it is actually just a cat! (Which is something that happened!) You don’t need to show the hostage-takers taking the children and then pump up the scary music and make us think they’re about to take Toni Collette, only to have it actually be her husband who enters the bathroom while she is in the shower. WE KNOW SHE’S GOING TO BE TAKEN SOON, WE’RE ALREADY NERVOUS FOR HER, QUIT IT WITH THE UNNECESSARY FAKE-OUTS! (And, in that scene, why do Toni Collette and Tate Donovan [her husband] look at each other so tensely when they are talking about a pasta timer? You don’t know you’re hostages yet! The pasta timer is just a pasta timer! STOP IT WITH THE MUSIC AND THE FACES!)
Over the course of the hostage-taking we find out that the daughter is pregnant, the baby-faced son is a weed dealer, and the dad is cheating on his wife. Oh, brother. If you don’t have faith in your hostage-being-forced-to-kill-the-president story line, then just think of a new storyline! Don’t pack the storyline with stuff that we, the viewers, don’t even want to spend time on because who cares about it, considering. And if you’re going to pack the storyline with stuff like that, at the very least take a breath and spread it out, or have it be stuff that takes place outside of the hostage house. The pilot bought the storyline some time, as Toni Collette was able to postpone the president’s surgery from taking place the next day to taking place in two weeks, but that is still a very limited amount of time! It’s not impossible that Hostages will find a way to fill it, but from the desperate grasping for the audience’s attention in the premiere, it doesn’t seem probable. Plus, like CBS’s Under the Dome, the series seems to have only one big payoff: the reason the FBI and other people surrounding the president (or, at least that one guy) want the president murdered. Which is difficult. And there isn’t even a dome involved in this one! (As far as I know!)
So, we’ll see! It looks very silly (Toni Collette staring into the camera at the end FOR SO LONG after saying “I don’t give up that easy” legitimately made me LOL) and mostly bad, but we’ll see! DID YOU WATCH IT? Aren’t you happy about the dog? I was very relieved to learn about the dog.