A tale of murder and television, "Cult" is masterminded by writer-producer Rockne S. O’Bannon, who previously created “SeaQuest,” “Farscape,” “The Triangle,” and the 21st century “V" remake.
“Cult” airs on The CW, and it deals with a different series called “Cult,” also apparently airing on The CW. (Does it bring in better ratings than “90210” and “Nikita”?)
It’s a messy, confusing pilot and not a very entertaining one. Apparently the superfan brother of a disgraced investigative journalist is kidnapped because he’s close to unraveling some sort of secret code embedded in the “Cult” TV show. Were fans kidnapped who figured out early that everybody was really dead during season six of “Lost”?
Is there a bigger secret, like President Obama was really born on the Planet Kolob or Altair 4? Why embed clues to that in a CW drama? And for whom?
And where in the real world are these ridiculous TV-fandom cafes the show seems to be depicting?
I really can’t see any of this going anywhere good or interesting enough for “Cult” to outlast “Emily Owens M.D.”
But please don’t take my word for it. Its pilot has been online for at least a week:
... The scariest thing about this mildly ominous thriller may be the shameless heights to which it takes network self-promotion. …
... "Cult" could work over time, but it could also implode because it's a very high-concept show. In other words, it depends heavily on the gimmick of the show within a show, refracted by social media. Beyond the gimmick, will there be enough to maintain our interest? If not, "Cult" could easily wind up as one TV show in search of an audience.
... the concept of The CW's new drama series "Cult" is strong. But the execution is weak. … Tuesday's premiere offers no cause to clamor for more.
... too messy and unnecessarily complex to be the show it could and should be. The premiere is a crowded and sometimes confusing piece of work, with too many back stories, exposition awkwardly stuffed into the dialogue, and an excess of meta-reference. Show creator Rockne S. O’Bannon tries to give us pieces of the show-within-the-show right away, causing a traffic jam of material. …
... Unfortunately, most everything we can see in Tuesday's pilot, and everything we know about CW, screams "no." Why would you trust the folks at CW to manage a show-within-a-show when "show" alone generally escapes them? …
... sounds like a good idea on paper and, alas, that's probably where it should have stayed. … falls victim to its confusing mumbo-jumbo and indifferent casting. …
9 p.m. Tuesday. The CW.