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Herc Says Cinemax’s HUNTED
May Not Be Worth Pursuing!!

I am – Hercules!!

A Cinemax/BBC espionage actioner starring Melissa George (“Alias”) as a spy for hire, “Hunted” is another British drama from American writer-producer Frank Spotnitz (“The X-Files,” “Night Stalker,” “Strike Back”).

It co-stars “Oz”/”Lost” icon Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, a Britisher this time playing a small role and an American.

George’s character, Sam Hunter, is going to remind a lot of viewers of Sydney Bristow as she convincingly dispatches any number of burly men with extraordinary speed and efficiency.

And George remains easy on the eyes generally, especially when she’s stripped down to her undies; she’s 36 but looks 24.

While the series starts out like “Alias,” it quickly evolves into a not-so-impossible TV-MA “Mission: Impossible” with the mission spread out over multiple episodes.

At first the series looks like it’s going to be an “Alias”-esque globe-hopper, but it quickly confines itself to London.

The ruse by which Hunter infiltrates a businessman/gangster’s home is wildly implausible, and as other implausibles piled up, I found my interest in this series waning.

I’d be more forgiving of the clumsy plot mechanics were the series funnier, or the characters as engaging as Arvin Sloane, Will Tippin, Marshall Flinkman or the Bristows.

Hitfix says:

... As with the many conspiracies of "Alias," I'm not always 100 percent clear on what's happening in "Hunted," but the atmosphere and suspense are terrific, and the leading lady is compelling enough that I want to see her triumph over whoever it is she's ultimately supposed to be fighting. …

HuffPost TV says:

... it's quite enjoyable to see a character-driven, action-laced spy drama take full advantage of the serialization possibilities of pay cable. AMC's late, lamented "Rubicon" tried that kind of thing and though it was a wonderful show, it didn't work as a commercial entity. …

The New York Times says:

... slick but not especially riveting … ends up being a competent addition to the high-stakes-snooping genre but not a very surprising one.

The Los Angeles Times says:

... [George] is not terribly believable in any of them, forcing viewers to rely on the reactions of those around her to see that she is convincing as an uber agent. Fortunately, the other performances are strong enough to carry it off for the most part, and as the plot divides and subdivides, sending tendrils up through the vaunted British intelligence agency, recalling the Cold War and evoking more current international concerns, Hunted takes on a smart and disturbing personality of its own. …

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says:

... Tonally, "Hunted" is most reminiscent of the great British import "MI-5." "Hunted" is a darker show, but it's still fun to see spy games in play and the assorted tools in a modern spy's arsenal. …

TV Guide says:

... isn't as extreme in its body count or its exposed bodies as Cinemax's guilty-pleasure breakout shoot-em-up Strike Back (just renewed for a third season of deranged derring-do), and it's also not as much fun. In its gloomy web of deceit and rabbit-hole conspiracies, this lies somewhere on the spectrum between the cerebral inertia of AMC's short-lived Rubicon and the giddy escapist antics of ABC's Alias …

Variety says:

... even with bursts of bloodshed, "Hunted" bogs down in the episodes previewed, which include extended stretches of cloak-and-dagger stuff set within the mansion where Sam's working, which start to become a tad claustrophobic. …

10 p.m. Friday. Cinemax.

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Readers Talkback
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  • Though Alias, ironically, fell off a cliff when Melissa George joined the show. That was really a writing problem, though.

  • Oct. 19, 2012, 1:59 p.m. CST

    i may watch just because STANNIS BARATHEON IS IN IT

    by yourSTEPDADDY

    OURS IS THE MOTHERFUCKING FURY

  • Oct. 19, 2012, 2:23 p.m. CST

    We're losing softcore because of this.

    by TopHat

    Cinemax saw that a bunch of people would watch THE TRANSPORTER on their channel ...so they overhauled the entire thing to appeal to that small group. So, now we're getting these "action" shows and straight-to-DVD "thrillers", while genuine independent films like SHAME, MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE, TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY, PARIAH, etc. get shoved to random 2 A.M. "premieres". THIS is Cinemax's idea of a Premium Cable Channel. Also, the softcore shows have drastically changed as well; its more about violence than sex, now. And whatever sex that exists is shot and edited like an action scene - They've succeeded in replacing sex with violence. Yet, the man children on the internet don't speak out. The words "badass" and "hot" are thrown around to validate this crap, while the "intellectuals" compare it to ALIAS or RUBICON. Decades worth of the internet and these boys still haven't figured out that they can view BILLIONS of women nude and having sex on the web anytime they want. So, a show that has naked girls is still touted as a revelation - and you're gay if you don't like it. You're gay if you prefer shows about sex involving beautiful women having and enjoying explicit sex, but, not if you like ones including females unrealistically beating up and killing people or men shooting guns and "bonding". ...and Romney is leading Obama.

  • Oct. 19, 2012, 2:47 p.m. CST

    @tophat: FYI = "0" Melissa George nekkid as of 3 episodes in...

    by obijuanmartinez

  • Also, there's PLENTY of softcore on there. From what I've seen there's at least three to five hours of Skinemax per night easily. So if that's your thing, it's still there. Then there's the On Demand service, so you can watch that stuff anytime, anywhere. Personally, I'm glad they're bringing new shows to the network. Would I ever subscribe to it? No, but marathons of Strike Back during free preview weekends is alright with me.

  • Strike Back and now Hunted

  • Oct. 19, 2012, 5:55 p.m. CST

    2nd episode was better than the 1st

    by AngelinasOilBoy

    Lets hope it finds its groove.

  • Oct. 19, 2012, 6:23 p.m. CST

    premium cable original series pecking order:

    by Titus05

    HBO---Showtime---Starz---Cinemax

  • Oct. 19, 2012, 8:36 p.m. CST

    3rd season of Alias..

    by Extr3m1st

    was still very entertaining TV. It just was a let down from the first 2 awesome seasons. Of course seasons 4 and 5 were mostly terrible. The show started to suck Rachel Nichols joined the cast. Not because of her, as I love that chick to death, but that was when the show started to creatively suck. Would still love an Alias movie or mini-series. Melissa George? YUMMY..

  • Oct. 19, 2012, 10:53 p.m. CST

    The first three seasons of Alias were great.

    by Twisted Wisdom

    But then things got off track in the fourth season, when they had the zombies and the Rambaldi ball floating over the city. That's when you knew the show wouldn't last much longer. But it was good while it lasted, and had one of the best pilots ever.

  • Oct. 20, 2012, 8:13 a.m. CST

    Frank Spotnitz

    by warren bishop

    is always a warning sign for me. With the exception of "X-Files" (which wasn't his creation) - his trademark is 'bland'. Everything about his shows tends to be kind of bland and lifeless, from the characterizations, to the visual style. Most of the time his characters are so laconic, it seems as if they've been drugged. Visually it looks alike alot of the color has been drained away as well. The "Night Stalker" remake was bland and lifeless. The 3rd season of "Milennium" (where he was the showrunner) was as boring as the 2nd season had been fascinating. I'll watch the premiere out of curiosity, but usually when his name is attached to a show, that's a red flag for me.

  • Oct. 20, 2012, 8:32 a.m. CST

    Alias died for me when they made Sloane a pseudo good guy

    by Rob0729

    Arvin Sloane the first three seasons was one of the greatest villain in TV history. Once they made him a good guy (teetering on the edge of good and bad), they destroyed the character and the show.

  • Obviously Chris Carter shares a lot of the blame for the X-Files' decline during the final 4 years... and FOX, for not letting the show end after 5 years. Anyways, during the final seasons of the show Frank Spotnitz was pretty much in charge of the "mythology", and those episodes were unwatchable for the most part.

  • Oct. 20, 2012, 2:39 p.m. CST

    Vince Gilligan was obviously the real brains behind X-Files

    by Titus05

    Chris Carter just rode his coattails ;)

  • Oct. 20, 2012, 4:43 p.m. CST

    This show is pretty damn good.

    by Yer_Maw

    Three episodes in and it has that Callan/Harry Palmer/Smiley grubby British espionage vibe mixed nicely with the less-likely-but-damned-entertaining Alias/Nikita thing. Surprisingly violent too. Basically the BBC doing what it does on form. Better than Spooks (MI5 in the USA I believe) too, or at least on a par with the first season.

  • Oct. 20, 2012, 8:17 p.m. CST

    I love MG and a question

    by Extr3m1st

    Is Strike back any good?

  • Oct. 21, 2012, 12:11 a.m. CST

    @yer_maw

    by warren bishop

    Suggesting that "Hunted" is better than Spooks/MI-5 (especially seasons 3-8) - is crazy talk.

  • Oct. 21, 2012, 8:54 a.m. CST

    what was hercs take on Homeland?

    by Fithian

  • Oct. 25, 2012, 6:33 p.m. CST

    I liked it

    by Eric

    I only watched the first episode of Hunter on Dish Online because I was waiting in the doctor’s office to be seen. The plot reminded me of Alias mixed with the Borne Identity, but I think they made it work. I will admit that I was disappointed with her infiltration of the gangster’s house though. I was talking to this guy that works at DISH with me and he said that if the show didn’t take itself so seriously that it would be a lot better and I see that we are not the only ones who think so.

  • Oct. 25, 2012, 6:33 p.m. CST

    I liked it

    by Eric

    I only watched the first episode of Hunter on Dish Online because I was waiting in the doctor’s office to be seen. The plot reminded me of Alias mixed with the Borne Identity, but I think they made it work. I will admit that I was disappointed with her infiltration of the gangster’s house though. I was talking to this guy that works at DISH with me and he said that if the show didn’t take itself so seriously that it would be a lot better and I see that we are not the only ones who think so.