The Nine: Pilot (series premiere)
by Bob Sassone, posted Oct 4th 2006 11:03PM
(S01E01) There are certain words I'm hesitant to use to describe this first episode of The Nine. After my praise and hype of Studio 60, I caught the wrath of many readers who thought I was either overpraising the show a little bit or just completely wrong for even liking the show. So, I'm hesitant to say that The Nine is excellent. It's exciting and well put together and deserves the hype that has been building for the past several weeks.
Having said that, I'd just like to say that The Nine is excellent. It's exciting and well put together and deserves the hype that has been building for the past several weeks.
Even a casual TV viewer knows the plot: nine strangers are brought together after being held hostage in a bank for 52 hours when a robbery goes awry. That's the plot right there, but like most great TV shows, it's how the handle the plot that matters.
We see that one hostage was killed, one hostage was released, and we see that the guy (John Billingsley) who seemed like the coward is now being called a hero. We see one woman acting differently towards her doctor boyfriend (Scott Wolf) because of something he did in the bank, a young girl who can't remember anything that happened in the bank with her dad (Chi McBride), and we see the cop (Tim Daly) come outside and punch the hostage negotiator. I don't know if it's the cleverness of the direction, the solid editing, or the cast that pulls it off (actually, it's all three), but you are instantly curious as to what happened to these people in the bank those 52 hours. And if you've seen ABC's marketing campaign, that's exactly what they want to happen with viewers.
This is the show Six Degrees could have been: a solid drama about a group of strangers who find themselves brought together. Nine is a higher number than six, in more ways than one.
The Nine is a lot like Lost in its use of flashbacks to fill in more of the story. But it's similar only because both use flashbacks. They don't use them the same. Lost uses them in big chunks to almost tell a different story of what happened in a character's past. The Nine uses them to explain why a certain character is acting a certain why, or why a hostage was released, why someone is acting differently after the hostage crisis is over than they were before. It's quite an intriguing set-up, and so far, it's working beautifully.
As the survivors sit in a diner at the end, trying to sit around and talk like a group of normal friends (until a waitress drops a tray and they all freak out), you wonder, where is the show going to go from here? But it's a credit to the cast that you really do care about what is going to happen to them, how the plots are going to progress (why does McBride's daughter go to the prison to see one of the robbers?!), and how the writers will interweave the flashbacks to explain certain scenes in the pilot.