TV MADNESS #24: HUNTED

It seems like every pay movie channel out there has original series in production. AMC, HBO, Showtime, TNT and now Cinemax. The B-Movie heaven or “Skin-emax” to some has had some success with their action series “Strike Back”, now in season three.

It seems to be full speed ahead for the channel as they are producing the spy series “Hunted” with Melissa George, the “Transporter” TV Series and a new thriller series called “Banshee”, created by True Blood’s Alan Ball.

The series stars Melissa George, best known for her TV work in “Alias” and the horror films “Amityville Horror”, “Turistas” and “30 Days of Night”.

This time she plays Sam Hunter (Yes, that’s her name. Sigh!) who works for the shadowy organization, Byzantium. Sam is betrayed by them and left for dead.

For a year in isolation, Sam rebuilds herself through discipline so that one day she can find out who tried to kill her.

This girl isn’t going to hide in the shadows and watch them. She walks right back into the organization and plans to take them down from the inside! Trust no one and keep your head down!

“Hunted” is a British co-production and written by producer Frank Spotnitz (The X-Files), who also brought “Strike Back” to Cinemax from the UK. The best thing about the show is the timing of Melissa George.

I like how this actress knows when to be the damsel and when to kick some butt.

We also believe that she can do just that not like say Kristin Kreuk. George throws everything at this role and does whatever crazy thing is thrown at her.

There are very few attractive actresses that have this ability. Milla Jovovich and Kate Beckinsale come to mind. They cast George well.

The direction is smart, sassy and exhilarating which in many ways overcomes the show’s slim budget.  It also knows how to show isolation and fragmented memories really, really well. I also really like the kinetic fight scenes and George’s desperation.

My only concern with the show is that is this more movie material or a TV series. There needs to be more going on than just George running from would-be assassins.

Will it be developed into a show like “Nikita” except with the British brains and integrity? Or is this gonna just try and stretch this plot out until we are sick of it.

There is one scene in the pilot where upon completing her training, Sam stops at a bookshelf and pulls down a book entitled “The Snow Maiden” as the only possession from her isolation she wants to keep with her. “The Snow Maiden” is a Russian fairy tale about the daughter of Spring and Frost who yearns for companionship with humans. She falls for an innocent shepherd named Lel, but her heart is unable to love. Her parents take pity on her and give her the ability to love but she melts away. This fairy tale could echo Sam’s struggle and her life being ripped away from the man she loves. Could this subtle clue add some layers of things to come?

If the pilot is any sign this could be a really interesting show.

GIVE IT: 4 episodes.

WATCH OR DVR: Watch it.

PILOT RATING: 4 out of 5

“THE HUNTED” AIRS FRIDAYS ON CINEMAX AND THURSDAYS ON BBC ONE.

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