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October 8, 2015

How did The Nine go downhill so quickly?

by Joel Keller, posted Nov 8th 2006 4:31PM
The Nine Cast
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."

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Jane Boursaw

Same here, Joel. I'm fading fast on The Nine.

November 14 2006 at 7:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I love The Nine now....At first I couldn't keep up with it...it seemed to broken-up. But now I see the show the way I think the writters want. I see the way the characters lives have all changed.The PTSS is obvious.Please watch your taped shows and give this show more time.It took Criminal Minds a long time to catch on.This show will not disapoint you if you just stick with it longer.

November 09 2006 at 8:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I, too, liked "The Nine" to begin with, but now I actually find "Six Degrees" more interesting, mostly the Campbell Scott story. Which amazes me, because I usually find him irritating as hell.

November 09 2006 at 1:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jim Kosmicki

I guess I like me some soap opera - I like the aftermath stuff and finding out about how they interact. But my wife and I also like Six Degrees and those characters' stories. We decided that while we do like Victor Garber and the other actors in Justice, we don't like their characters and have the same trouble with actually watching those episodes. And I really, really like both main actors on Standoff, but find the plots too be way too similar. So I think it might come down to whether one watches primarily for plot or character.

November 09 2006 at 12:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

At least something happens on this show. The acting is strong, the characters are interesting. The plot advances.

I'm not flighty enough to drop it yet, I guess. I gave Lost three years before I finally decided it was well past it's shelf life, I can somehow muster up the courage to stick it out a season with The Nine.

November 09 2006 at 9:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think it was promoted with too much emphasis on the robbery and "what happened in there". Everyone, including myself keeps looking for something "more" or for some kind of mystery or whatever. Then we wonder how in the world this can last a whole season.

As soon I shifted my focus away from that and just see it as an ongoing drama with a great cast - I actually look forward to watching.

November 09 2006 at 9:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I agree completely with the article. For me, "The Nine" is turning into "Six Degrees"; nothing more than a pointless soap about people's personal problems and random interactions. The story needs to get into those 52 hours, and fast. I'd rather see it kick ass for a single season, or even 13 episodes, wrap up the story and go away than flounder like it's doing now.

November 08 2006 at 10:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jason P

I watched the first few but dropped it as well....

For me, the new ones I'm still watching are Studio 60, Friday Night Lights, and Shark.

November 08 2006 at 9:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mikey the L

I loved the first episode. I gave up after second episode.

November 08 2006 at 8:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

jennifer, that's exactly what I was going to say. this show could've been great as a "feature event". instead, abc chose to try and drag it out, a la lost.

what ever happened to the miniseries, anyway? there used to be at least one every sweeps week, guaranteed.

the nine would've worked so much better in a limited run... there just isn't enough to the plot or characters to draw out more than 4 or 5 hours' worth of material.

November 08 2006 at 8:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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