How did The Nine go downhill so quickly?
Like most critics, I was completely riveted by the pilot for The Nine. Everything from the robbery to the rescue to the aftermath sucked me in and made me lose track of time, something that none of the other pilots were able to accomplish. And, I wasn't the only one here at TVS that was looking forward to seeing the show; just about every one of my fellow Squadders loved the show, and our praise was deafening to the point that readers were wondering if we were being paid off by ABC or one of the producers.
So much for first impressions.
We're now up to the sixth episode of The Nine, and I'm starting to lose interest. Fast. I have last week's episode on tape but haven't watched it yet. I plan on recording tonight's episode, too, but I probably won't watch either until this weekend -- if I don't have anything else to do. That's a bad sign. If I'm not eagerly looking forward to watching a show within a day or so of its airing, chances are I'm only a few weeks away from dropping the show for good.
That's not to say that The Nine is an awful show. It's not, by any means; it's well-acted, well-shot, and well-directed. The problem is the story. Week after week, we're dying to find out what happened during the robbery that contributed to the dynamic that developed among all the characters involved. But what we're getting is tidbits of the robbery, parceled out in fifteen-minute snippets that, while exciting, aren't enough for viewers to stay interested when we get back to the post-robbery universe. And, unfortunately, that universe just seems to consist of people talking to each other and holding their heads because of all the PTSD-related angst they have.
Of course, it's not like we and other critics didn't sense that this might be the show's fatal flaw; in one of our old APB podcasts, Keith and I wondered how the writers were going to be able to maintain this plot over multiple seasons without driving viewers nuts. It was a significant question to ask, but we enjoyed the pilot so much that we had faith that the writers would think of a creative way around this problem. Guess we were wrong.
It's just so disappointing that The Nine has failed to capture the magic that was set up by the pilot, and the declining ratings are a sign that most viewers agree. David Bianculli in the New York Daily News, in an article about the show, puts things pretty succinctly: "Like many viewers of this show, I'm a victim of one of the oldest con games on the street: the old bait and switch."