Anthony Edwards, most famous for his role as mild-mannered Dr. Greene on NBC's mega-hit medical drama "ER," returns to network television Thursday night in an ABC conspiracy thriller that's fun but also very familiar.
The comparisons of ABC's "Zero Hour" to "The Da Vinci Code" and even the "Indiana Jones" franchise are obvious and unavoidable. The plot is loaded with ancient maps, secret religious societies, spontaneous (and seemingly effortless) international travel, a Jesus mystery, and of course, Nazis.
Edwards as Hank Galliston is the present-day editor of a Brooklyn magazine that debunks paranormal phenomena (like werewolf families and Arkansas skunk-apes), but who turns a little Indiana Jones when an international terrorist abducts his wife, an antique clock dealer. His wife Laila, you see, had just purchased an old clock containing -- unbeknownst to her -- one part of the answer to a complicated puzzle sought for generations by the Nazis. It has to do with eternal youth or immortality or weird white-eyed babies or something along those lines. (I'm assuming it's not going to turn out to be the Holy Grail with a cameo by Sean Connery, but rather some sort of scientific discovery. At least, I'm hoping.)
Hank isn't getting the kind of help he wants from the FBI, so he takes matters into his own hands, using two young reporters (Scott Michael Foster and Addison Timlin) as researchers and consulting a priest pal for his expertise. Eventually, an FBI agent teams up with him.
I've laid a lot of plot on you here, but I don't think I've spoiled anything. The point of the mystery, besides whether or not Hank finds his wife (and whether she's dead or alive when and if he does) is (I think) figuring out exactly what secret was being kept from the Nazis and trying to make sure it doesn't fall into the wrong hands now.
I honestly can't decide how I feel about "Zero Hour." It's neither great nor bad, but something about it did feel a little off at times. Sure, it's a low-rent, kinda silly "Da Vinci Code." But on the other hand, it's a million times better than "Missing," ABC's terrible globe-trotting Ashley Judd drama from last year. But on the other other hand, the fact that "Missing" even popped into my mind at all while I was watching the "Zero Hour" pilot can't be a good sign.
"Zero Hour" is interesting enough to draw me back for at least a couple more episodes, and by then I'll have made up my mind about its DVR worthiness. It's certainly better than, say, a weekend skunk-aping in Arkansas.
"Zero Hour" airs at 8 p.m. on Thursdays on ABC