Wednesday, September 06, 2006

How to lose me before the second commercial break...

Last night, I decided to give a new TV show a try. It's called Standoff, and features a fella from the excellent mini-series, Band of Brothers.

I didn't come back after the second break, for two reasons: they ignored one of the basic elements of story-telling and one key action seemed completely implausible to me.

It started off with Band o' Bros guy in a car, talking on his cell phone. Exciting? Interesting? Since I know neither who this guy is or who he's talking to, not so much.

Then we discover there's a hostage crisis. Lots of SWAT guys running around (including another actor from Band o' Bros), surrounding another guy sitting in his car, talking on a phone. So far, lots of secondary activity, but otherwise, you have people sitting in cars.

We discover there are two kids in Hostage Taker car. We soon learn these are, in fact, Hostage Man's own children. So...there goes any tension about whether or not these kids are in serious jeopardy. HT may be upset, but I never for a moment thought he would hurt one of the kids. (If you're a fan of Prison Break, imagine T-Bag in that car, or Haywire. Good golly, I'd be on the edge of my seat! This set-up? Nope.)

We discover Hostage Man is a big TV star.

Well, cry me a river then. Am I supposed to care about this rich, apparently successful person who seems to be wallowing in self-pity? They provide no motive for his action beyond a "bad divorce." Sorry, not feeling the need to care about Hostage Taker here. After all, this is apparently a man who will wave a gun around his terrified children. Methinks such a fella doesn't deserve custody.

And then Band o' Bros Hero gets out of his car and walks toward Hostage Car. Maybe I was supposed to think, "oooh, risky!" but I didn't. For one thing, ACTOR in car. Rich, successful actor. For another, there are about a gazzillion cops on roofs, behind cars, etc. watching.

Now, it turns out there's a lady negotiator. Actually, she appeared at the start, sitting in the back seat of Band o' Bros Hero's car. Offering her two cents. You know, like a back seat driver, only with the negotiating. Literally in the back seat.

Okay, so here we have Band o' Bros Hero standing in front of the Hostage Car with Sad Sack TV Star and in an apparent attempt to prove to Sad Sack TV Star that he can empathize, Band o' Bros Hero starts confessing, basically on speaker phone, that he's been sleeping with his partner (aka Ms. Back Seat). This is very bad and against procedures and regulations, etc. etc.

And that's where this show really lost me -- there was no reason for him to reveal the true details of his life for all the world to hear. As far as I knew, Sad Sack TV Star didn't know Band o' Bros Hero from Adam. Surely B o'B Hero could have made up something much less damaging. Aren't negotiators good at thinking on their feet? And coming up with ways to get the hostage takers to trust them? Does that mean they tell real details from their lives? I just couldn't buy it. And fer crying out loud, what about your partner and the repercussions of this confession for her? Self-centered, much? At least that's the way it came across to me.

With no background, no motive, no apparent valid character-driven reason for him to spill the truth, I had no sympathy for him. I had no sympathy for his partner, either, because I'd not been given any reason to care about her. Maybe I was supposed to care when he blathered the truth to all and sundry, but she didn't look overly bugged. Or even really shocked.

My suspension of disblief came a-tumbling down, so no more Standoff for me.

How many more days till The Amazing Race? And Lost? And Battlestar Galactica?

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