THE SHOW "Zero Hour"
WHEN | WHERE Premieres Thursday night at 8 on ABC/7
WHAT IT'S ABOUT Hank Galliston (Anthony Edwards) is the editor of a Brooklyn-based magazine called Modern Skeptic; his wife, Laila (Jacinda Barrett), is proprietor of a clock shop. One day, she buys a particularly unusual clock -- which has ties to Rosicrucianism, Nazi Germany, and even contains a map to... something. A mercenary known as White Vincent (Michael Nyqvist) kidnaps Laila to get the clock, and only then does Hank -- with the help of his priest pal (Charles Dutton, in a guest role) -- learn that this fabulous timepiece holds the key to an incredible grand mystery. Meanwhile, Laila is still being held, so Hank enlists the help of FBI agent Rebecca "Beck" Riley (Carmen Ejogo) to track down the clock's clues to find her.
MY SAY A little more than 10 years ago, Anthony Edwards essentially boot-kicked his career and walked away from playing Dr. Mark Greene on "ER." Few exit interviews. No tear-choked "farewell Hollywood" speeches. Just a simple goodbye and that was that. He left for New York to raise a family, travel the world with the kids, and then, after a few years, slowly, deliberately re-entered the biz as a producer ("Temple Grandin") and actor in the occasional flick ("Big Sur").
But "Zero Hour" represents a broken promise. Upon leaving "ER," he said he was done with one-hour dramas, and in the Galliston role it's easy to read his lingering ambivalence. Edwards is not fully present and accounted for here -- maybe due to a 10-year accumulation of rust. He was probably the single best actor (of hundreds) over "ER's" run, but there's none of that old swagger and confidence, none of that Dr. Greene arrogance or even soul -- and the absence is a little jarring. Sure, given time that should all return, but will "Zero Hour" get that time?
If you move beyond the hokey dialogue and the Dan Brown-lite Ancient Conspiracy business, you'll probably find yourself hoping that it does -- if only to see one of TV's more accomplished actors hit his stride once again.
BOTTOM LINE Ambitious and intermittently entertaining, "Zero Hour" -- and its celebrated lead -- don't quite hit all their marks. But at least the mystery's a hoot.