Thursday, February 14, 2013

"Zero Hour": ABC prods "The Invisible Empire of the Rosicrucians"


I had to set the Pilot of ABC's “Zero Hour” to record tonight, as I was at a dance event (see my :Drama Blog”), and when I played it back – yes, I can say I’m intrigued by the premise, even if it seems more transparent and hokey than from other series that I did like (such as “Flash Forward” and “The Event”). 
    
The show opens centuries ago with some Catholic ritual, and then shifts to 1938, somewhere in Germany, where some members of AMORC, the Rosicrucian Order, are trying to protect a secret buried somewhere in the machinations of old clocks and astrolabes. The Rosicrucians are described as "mystic Christians" (not quite accurate) who hold the secrets of the universe. 
   
If the Nazis find the secret, they will be able to achieve immortality (for the “chosen”) and displace God, according to something we learn toward the end of the episode. The secret seems to invoke a mysterious baby "of no womb". And perhaps there are freeze-dried adults, pickled, ready to come to life. 
    
That may sound like the height of personal or national conceit (and certainly an “excuse” for eugenics), but Clive Barker’s 1991 novel “Imajica” ends essentially with “man conquering God”. 
  
After the prologue, the show shifts to modern day Brooklyn (is it Park Slope, Williamsburg, or the gentrified Bed Stye?)  Anthony Edwards plays Hank Galliston, editor of Modern Skeptic, a magazine about paranormal activity.  His wife Laila (Jacind Barrett) runs a clock shop.  Suddenly, she is kidnapped, and pretty soon an FBI agent (Carmen Egojo) is asking Hank what the world’s most wanted mercenary could possibly want.  Hanks has a staff who can globetrot to help solve the mystery, including handsome Aaron (Scott Michael Foster). Hank also has the clock (which wasn't in the shop for the mercenary to find) with a diamond with an embedded treasure map. 
  
“Spy” movies or television with existential mysteries seem less credible if the characters seem too conveniently contrived, or make too many trips right away across the Pond. 
  
Some mysterious man in Germany (Michael Nyquist) warns the kids about the coming storm called ‘Zero Hour”.  Would this be the polar hurricane of “The Day After Tomorrow”? 
  
I actually belonged to the lowest levels of AMORC myself in the 1970s, as there was a chapter in the East Village in New York City. I’ve seen the headquarters and museum in San Jose, CA.  I have a review of the books of H. Spencer Lewis on my Books blog  April 7, 2007.  This series does seem to misplace the point of Rosicrucian teaching and practice. 

  
Does this show have enough hook to make me want to continue?  Probably.
   
I do think that it’s better not to start with a Prologue centuries ago..  In my own book, I put it in the “slow movement”, after a ritual initiation scene. 
  
Wikipedia attribution link for AMORC cross picture from San Jose Museum.

Update: March 7, 2013

ABC has cancelled the show because of low ratings, after just three episodes!  It may air them in the summer.  But they have already been filmed.  At least air them somewhere.  I'd like to know "the answer".


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