I’m not a fan of horror movies, so I haven’t watched any of the four movies on which the series is based. But, if you ignore the ridiculous political premise, the idea behind one night of the year where all crime is legal is interesting from a purely philosophy of law and order, role of the state, etc. kind of perspective. Intriguing even. Not enough to watch one of the movies, not my genre, but when they turn it into a movie and thus by extension have to turn down the gore factor and up the storyline, I am willing to watch an episode.
The characters seem to have a loose tie back to the movies, and the creator of the movies wrote the first episode of the new series. From watching the first episode, there are basically three main storylines:
- Miguel is looking for his sister Penelope who was in a rehab program but checked herself out while he was off being a Marine. She’s found her way to a suicide cult who commits suicide-by-purge. The cult members basically “give” themselves to purgers to kill, thus freeing them from the world to embrace the invisible world of Heaven. So if Miguel doesn’t track her down in time, she’s going to die tonight. Willingly in order to reunite with their dead parents, who died during the fourth movie.
- Jane is a business executive who has to work on Purge night on a secure floor of an office building along with a bunch of high-end young corporate types to put a deal together before the Japanese markets close in the morning. However, Jane is not as she seems, and she seems edgy all the way to the end of the episode when you find out she has another game going on, not just the business deal, and it is illegal (she can’t commit the first step until the Purge starts). Dun dun dun.
- Finally, there is a couple, Jenna and Rick, who have accepted an invite on Purge Night to spend it at an one-percenter’s party in order to try to get investment capital to build housing for low-income families. They feel like they’re selling their souls to the people behind the Purge, and it’s all complicated by the fact that they have a past sexual relationship with the benefactors’ daughter, a relationship that did not end well.
Episode 1 takes place from 90 minutes before the Purge up to just after the start of the Purge, and I confess I wasn’t sure what to expect. It’s on USA network, so it’s not like it is Netflix or HBO where the gore, violence or sex are going to be too explicit, but still, I’m not a horror fan, as I noted earlier.
I liked it. Miguel is compelling, very intense. Jane is tightly wound, not sure how the actress will do for whatever is to come, but I found her somewhat of a cliché as currently written. Jenna and Rick are acting a bit too much like they are ACTUALLY making a deal with Lucifer, not just shady business people with questionable political views. Here and there, a few actors were promising additions. For example, Reed Diamond plays the male half of the one-percenter hosts, and I like Reed in lots of previous roles. Designated Survivor as Director of the FBI; Minority Report as one of the bosses; FBI agent in The Mentalist (and one of the 7 Red John suspects); confused investigator in Dollhouse; and various weekly roles in White Collar, Revolution, The Glades, Cold Case, Castle, Stargate SG-1, and The West Wing. He’s a bit smarmy, but always fun to see.
Based on the initial description, I didn’t think it had enough oomph in the reboot world to make it through the season and get renewed. Having watched the first episode, I’m going to keep that prediction — CANCELLED — but I confess they’re making it a closer race. They almost made it interesting enough for me to watch. But honestly, I don’t care about Penelope or if Miguel saves her. I don’t care about Rick and Jenna, just hypocrites from the looks of it. I found the acting weak for Jane, but I would kind of like to know what happens with her storyline and what the big plot is that she’s part of for the night. But one out of three storylines is not enough for me to keep watching. I’m out.