I just finished watching the pilot of SyFy’s new series, HUNTERS, moments ago, and I’ve already forgotten just about everything about it. It is messy, gratuitously gory, starring characters that I just don’t care about, and with a premise that seems underdeveloped. Harsh, perhaps, but this is a show that could have used a truthful wakeup call before going to air. Let me refresh my memory here and I’ll break down the issues.
Based on the Alien Hunter novels by Whitley Strieber, HUNTERS begins with a dark and mysterious scene brimming with the threat of violence and sexual assault. One would think something like this would entice viewers, and one would be right. But the series almost immediately negates the interest by jumping back in time 72 hours, a tried trope that certainly should not be used in a pilot, and never really gets into what we first saw in any meaningful way. Certainly, the scene itself is not notable in the scheme of things.
The show has to start further back than this to give us a little context about the girl and what’s going on, since her abduction helps create the starting point. Her name is Abby Carroll (Laura Gordon, Saw V), and while she herself doesn’t seem to be much more than a catalyst, her relationship with husband Flynn (Nathan Phillips, The Bridge) is vital to setting up the series.
See, there’s a group of covert agents who are hunting extraterrestrial terrorists, hence the name of the series, HUNTERS. Flynn, an FBI agent, finds out about them while looking for Abby, and of course he’s invited to join, because why not? I don’t think any of that is spoiling because Flynn is the promoted main character, while Abby’s situation is shown in the opening. Yet, the show takes forever to getting round to connecting these dots.
Instead, Flynn slows down to deal with step-daughter Emme’s (Shannon Berry) issues. I could be wrong, but Emme seems completely unnecessary to the plot, especially considering the direction she is going. She feels like filler to stretch out a miniseries into a full-blown show, giving Flynn some small development on the side, but not too much, less he be distracted from his mission. (That is not a complaint about Berry, just the way the writers have developed, or not developed, the character.)
Basically, though, Flynn is just your generic hero, good with a tragic background, trying his best to do right, but with little personality that seems original. Yawn.
HUNTERS also introduces a second lead, Allison Regan (Britne Oldford, Ravenswood), who somehow manages to be even less interesting. Allison is already a part of the alien hunting team when we meet her, and she doesn’t get along all that well with her fellow officers. So of course she’s foisted on the new guy, and they’ll apparently work as a team where others have failed to.
Except, the leads have absolutely no chemistry at all. Most crime procedural pairings are well cast and provide the draw to watch a case-of-the-week show every week, even when the stories become repetitive. HUNTERS is that type of show without the charming main characters, meaning there really isn’t much at all going for it.
HUNTERS tries to be many things, primarily a shadowy world like Fringe or The X-Files, but with enough influence from other programs thrown in, such as the cop genre, to avoid drawing one-to-one comparisons. Yet, it’s like it was created from just making a list of characteristics the producers wanted, but with no effort spent figuring out what would actually make this show work. Sadly, the result is not worth watching.
HUNTERS premieres tonight at 10/9c on SyFy.
CHIEF TELEVISION CRITIC | Creator of and writer for It's All Been Done Radio Hour live show and podcast. A voracious reader wanting to tell stories of his own, Jerome began writing around the age of 8 and hasn’t stopped, both original works and television reviews. Lives in central Ohio. Favorite current shows include The Walking Dead, Jessica Jones, Flaked, Outlander, and Archer.