Review - 'Zero Hour' is the worst of the 'LOST' knock-offs

There's that ubiquitous line from the Narcotics Anonymous handbook: "Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results." 

I think it's been pretty much confirmed by now that the major television networks are insane.

Case in point: the new series Zero Hour, a Da Vinci Code-style mystery genre series that premieres tonight on ABC. It's a series that barely even tries to cover up the fact that it's just going through the motions. It's the latest in a long series of attempts by network television to replicate the mystery-thriller success that was LOST. As you probably know, all of these high-profile attempts have failed, spectacularly, usually after less than a season. The Event, Terra Nova, Persons Unknown -- we remember these shows, but barely, and never on their terms. 

Nobody seems to be as unwilling to learn from these mistakes as ABC, the network that already had significant missteps with such attempts as FlashForward and V. Those shows, however, had moments of actual brilliance, and it looked like effort had been put into crafting them. But that was back when ABC was desperate for a successor to the former gem in its crown. 

With Zero Hour, though, any of that desperation or effort has long since faded away; Zero Hour feels like a lame shrug of an attempt, a gas station lotto ticket that ABC doesn't honestly believe will be a success. It fills out the genre series checklist halfheartedly, complete with flashbacks, shamelessly expository dialogue, and completely unsympathetic stock characters. And good luck making sense of the plot -- it's been tied around itself in knots in an invitation for us genre fans to untangle it. There's some religious mumbo jumbo, quite a lot of focus on clocks and maps (and maps in clocks!), and hey, Nazis, because why not? It's all a bit insulting, really. The fact that ABC gave us this tripe instead of ordering more of a great show like Last Resort? Even worse. (To ABC: If you'd put the money used to make this into making more unique and well-written shows like Last Resort, you probably wouldn't be competing with NBC for last place.) 

It'd be easy to go ahead and make some general statements about what Zero Hour means: does it mark the death of genre shows on network television. Nah, it doesn't. But what it does mark is a new low in the long list of LOST-replicant attempts, and a new low for television this year (one that should be pretty tough to beat). I've never been one for being relentlessly critical, but seriously? Don't waste your time with Zero Hour. You'll wish you could have that hour back. I know I do. 

- Anthony Edwards
- Zero Hour (2013)

Written by: mcpherson
Feb 14th, 2013, 2:54 pm

Images courtesy of ABC

Jorgen M

Message Posted On Jun 24th, 2013, 11:44 pm
A great series! So sorry to see it end. The reviewer should stop writing all together. Not only did you not hit bullseye, but you shot in the wrong direction! Good actors, and believable characters.

Message Posted On May 17th, 2013, 1:04 am
I kind of like it, it's not boring me, yet. Ilike the story line and the history mixed with fiction. Lighten up this not a documentary It's a television show. Don't expect so much Mr. Critic.

Message Posted On Feb 17th, 2013, 10:39 pm
Have any of you heard of the Thule Society or the Vril Society? Secret groups that primarially existed in Nazi Germany? This show is exciting, unlike anything I have seen before and I pity anyone who cannot appreciate how wonderful this program is. I am fed up of reality show after reality show, stupid, inane dance and music shows plus bachelor or bachorlorette shows. I actually thoroughly enjoy watching a program which activates my brain cells. I guess that perhaps I am in the minority. No wonder the world is going to Hell in a handbasket. I simply cannot understand anyone who does not appreciate how truly wonderful this show appears to be.

Message Posted On Feb 17th, 2013, 10:25 pm
Frankly I loved it, I thought it was fresh, new, complex and well thought out. Perhaps some are not intelligent enough to grasp the brilliance of this show. I pity you, open your minds and perhaps investigate some of the crazy things the Nazis actually did. Maybe then it would not seem so far fetched. Open your minds people.

Level 3 (9%)
Points: 1.5
Since: 03/Aug/12
Message Posted On Feb 15th, 2013, 5:33 pm

Last Resort had a better pilot, but it lost me after the second or third episode. I'll probably give Zero Hour another episode or two before I give up on it.


Level 3 (36%)
Since: 16/Feb/12
Message Posted On Feb 15th, 2013, 2:44 pm

They're not LOST knock-offs in their genre, as much as they are in their approach and attempted complexity. I suppose there is a grey area -- but certainly without LOST those shows would not have been given a chance. 


Level 1 (64%)
Since: 13/Nov/10
Message Posted On Feb 15th, 2013, 7:22 am

So anything in the sci-fi or mystery genres are now Lost clones?  Ridiculous.


Zero Hour wasn't all that enjoyable, but it just irks me when people call shows like this "Lost knock-offs".  There are very few similarities between this, V, Terra Nove, and Lost.  To compare them is laughable..........


Level 2 (91%)
Since: 13/Oct/07
Message Posted On Feb 15th, 2013, 2:31 am

I haven't seen it yet, guess I'm waiting a couple of weeks to see all the criticisms. Flash Forward is still missed :(


Message Posted On Feb 14th, 2013, 7:22 pm
I wasn't impressed with the first episode (it certainly wasn't as good as Last Resort, and that didn't last long). I'll give it a bit longer though.

Message Posted On Feb 14th, 2013, 5:34 pm
Way of the mark on this show. It's different and you are drawing such a longbow to even link it to LOST. Nazi's have always been in the middle of plenty of conspiracy theories, which is what Zero Hour expands on. Maybe the actual concept is too much for you to comprehend.
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