TV Review: Cult Season 1 Episode 1
Fuck, it’s been ages since we had a brand new show here on I Just Hate Everything.
And Cult is very (and I mean very) CW. Which is both fantastic and disappointing.
TL;DR Pretty people, moody locations and vague drama abound. But depth there ain’t.
I only come for the pretty people. Hate me.
Alright, let’s see what we’ve got for plot. It’s a show-within-a-show dealie, so brace yourself for that. Jeff (Matt Davis, Alaric from TVD) is a former hot shot reporter. His brother calls him up and is freaking out about some show called Cult. Bro later disappears, leaving a huge-ass blood stain in his apartment. Searching for answers, Jeff goes to the set of Cult and runs into Skye (Jessica Lucas, from my dearly departed Melrose Place), a production assistant who herself has been noticing weird things in the Cult fan communities. Blah blah blah possible real-world conspiracy, they see a chick commit suicide, the cops are totally in on it and Bro is alive but missing. The show-within-a-show, Cult, also has its own little plot interspersed through any scene where there’s a TV. Alona Tal (from Veronica Mars. The movie is happening, bitches!) plays a former cult member who is now a cop investigating her sister’s disappearance, which she believed was caused by the cult leader Billy. Events from the show mirror what Jeff and Skye go through. Of course.
I’m tempted to give this a bit of lenience because it’s a pilot (and on The CW. Poor thing), and I was pretty soft on ol’ Once Upon a Time’s first episode.
Call me unfoundedly optimistic.
But I’ll still give it the beating it deserves.
I think the most painful aspect (which, unfortunately, looks like it will be a major component of the show) is the whole “people watching TV will take it super serious” thing. I mean, a fucking TV watching bar/lounge/club, mostly devoted to a single fledgling show? What the actual fuck? How dumb do the writers think we are?
Well, we are watching The CW, so maybe they have a point.
Why I hate this episode:
It feels very 90s, “computers are the devil” esque. Dated.
Skye and Jeff’s relationship goes way too fast. Like, fucking mach speed shit. She overhears him sounding crazy when he talks to the publicist on the set, then next thing you know they’re hanging out all day and going around to sketchy motels and shit. The worst example of this is when the female cop brings up the fact that he published an article with a false source which led to the imprisonment of 6 cops, and Skye (who, remember, literally just met Jeff) is like “Nah, it’s cool. Coffee?” Bitch, how have you survived this long?
Jessica Lucas ain’t that great an actress, either. She was easily the worst talent on Melrose Place. Apart from Ashley Simpson. But that’s not much of an accomplishment.
For all its moodiness, nothing really happens. I’d expect more from a pilot. Jeff and Skye just roll around a bit while some mildly creepy stuff happens to them, not particularly involving them.
There is cosplaying, which utterly erodes any possibility of the premise being taken seriously.
This whole things seems a bit too sinister to be a conspiracy being perpetrated through a CW show (Cult, the show-within-a-show, is on The CW, within our Cult’s universe. That’s confusing. You’ll get it if you see it).
Oh, and both in Cult and in Jeff and Skye’s investigation, the characters have to use blue and red 3D glasses to find clues. My theory that this is actually a dusted off script from the 90s gains traction.
Reasons to watch:
I love me some casting porn, and this is about as good as it gets (next to Melrose Place. No, I will not be ashamed). Matt Davis, Jessica Lucas and Alona Tal are definitely on my list. I was just Katie Cassidy short of my CW bingo.
The parallels between Jeff and Skye’s reality and the Cult TV show, though trite, are an effective device. Yeah, it’s lame and overly convenient, but it’s cute, yo.
Also, as riciculous as it is, I love that Cult is on the in-universe CW. Dat showception.
Using the 3D glasses and a disc he finds in his brother’s notebook (which mirrors a disc Alona finds in the show), Jeff accesses some computer program thing that not only alerts his brother that he’s using it, but also shows Jeff’s ID information. Intrigue.
His brother also begs him to abandon the search. Creepy.
The final scene of the episode is of one of the producers being kidnapped IRL by some cult members. Shit is real.
Oh, and a chick shoots herself in the head in front of Jeff and Skye. I suppose that would be a bonding experience. Might explain why she’s so trusting of him immediately afterwards.