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October 9, 2015

Fear Itself: The Sacrifice (series premiere)

by Jason Hughes, posted Jun 6th 2008 8:37AM
Fear Itself - The Sacrifice(S01E01) NBC is touting this as a 13-episode series, but you have to figure that if the ratings were miraculously high, it'd get a second nod next summer, or even January if it finds blockbuster status. However, they're probably being realistic by banking on it as a nice summer distraction. These days, anthology series just don't get the ratings.

While I talked a little bit about the first three episodes in my early look article, I blasted this episode the most of the three I saw, while my fellow TV Squadder Keith felt that the second episode was weaker than this one. I guess it all comes down to a matter of taste. I still think that plunging neckline right there has a lot to do with why this was chosen as the first episode. The NBC marketing machine can trumpet this installment as one featuring sexy sirens seducing four hapless men. Unfortunately, that description is a little misleading. Sure, Mircea Monroe is voluptuous but I only really counted two seduction scenes, and they both featured Monroe. The rest of the girls were too busy cooking stew and whining about their fate.

As it turned out, the episode really wasn't about sirens at all, in the classic sense of the idea of a siren as a hot woman who lures men to their doom. Sure, the chicks were hot and the men were more than likely doomed, but that was more a matter of circumstances. The girls didn't particularly seem to seek out guys, and only used seduction as a part of their lures to keep the men around. But there's every reason to think they've victimized women and families as needed over the years.

For me, the problem was that there wasn't anything particularly new or compelling in the presentation of the episode, save the first scene in the barn with the "bed" laid out on the barn floor. In the end, though, this was little more than a "monster of the week" episode. And there were a few too many horror movie cliches for me in this one:
  • Car breaks down in the middle of nowhere? Check
  • Group of "friends" finds a house in the middle of nowhere? Check
  • There is no phone available for them to use to call for help? Check
  • Gratuitous female nudity, or near nudity and sensuality? Check
  • The group of "friends" are split up? Check
  • One of the friends is more sensitive, and another friend is mean to him/her? Check
  • The friends are killed one by one? Check
  • The mean friend/sibling changes his ways, but it's too late? Check
  • Someone sacrifices themselves to save the others? Check
  • The monster is trapped and seemingly destroyed (but there's no body)? Check
All we needed was for a girl to be in her underwear and a men's dress shirt wandering around the house alone and then going outside dressed like that by herself with only a flashlight for protection.

The effects were generally well done; the wound sewing sequence seemed a bit overdone with the makeup and prosthetic enhancements, but the makeup on the vampire was excellent. In the end, though, I was just glad that I had an opportunity to check out the first three episodes in one run to get a good look at the diversity the show promises to bring us later. The supernatural game is raised next week, as are the effects and the innovation in presentation and storytelling, and it looks to only get better from there.

Maybe the idea was to start things off on more familiar ground for typical horror fans. Or maybe it really was as simple as using Mircea Monroe's boobs to sell the show. Certainly it's the most boobage we see in the first three episodes. Regardless, while I won't rate the first episode as of to an amazing start, by the third one Fear Itself is off and running on all cylinders. The question is if America is ready to embrace a supernatural-horror anthology series again?

Did Fear Itself get your attention?
Yeah, it was horrible19 (11.1%)
It was okay; I'll try the next few90 (52.6%)
I'll be tuning in each week!50 (29.2%)
I will never delete it from my TiVo, it was amazing!12 (7.0%)

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I wish I could have that hour of my life back. It wasn't scary at all, and had so many cheesy and predictable elements. And just when you start getting interested in what was going on, BAM commercial break. I don't think I will watch another episode.

Also...they've been living there for that long and never thought to set the bastard on fire? Cmon.

June 06 2008 at 1:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I was so disappointed. The first rule in a story such as this one is that you have to care at least an inkling about the people going through it.

If they had all died in the first five minutes and I could have watched the fire burn in the hearth unattended for the next 40 minutes, it would have worked equally well for me.

Boring and unengaging.

June 06 2008 at 1:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Doug Nelson

Commercials and horror stories don't go well together.

June 06 2008 at 1:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brooks Williams

I was pumped for the show - but the episode was boring except for the lips being sown shut, and they didn't go as far as I thought they would there either.

I'm still tuning in for all of them, this isn't really a show I'd want to miss out on.

June 06 2008 at 11:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Brooks Williams's comment


June 06 2008 at 12:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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