Another mystery: Will this show improve?
Hey, whatever happened to the original cornerstone of the White House, anyway?
And will someone please tell me where the hidden Confederate treasury is? And Lady Liberty - is it true there are some hidden messages strewn about the old girl?
Meltzer wants to know about all this stuff, too, and in this 10-part series, he's assembled a team to get the answers. They are Christine McKinley - simply identified as a "mechanical engineer," although Oregonians perhaps know her best as lead singer and band leader of Dirty Martini; Scott Rolle, a former state's attorney in Maryland; and Buddy Levy, a professor of English at Washington State.
Tomorrow night, the three pile into a car and head into the wilds of Washington, D.C., in search of a certain missing White House cornerstone, and those who likely pinched it.
"Brad Meltzer's Decoded" evokes "Conspiracy Theory With Jesse Ventura," and I guess you don't have to be told that this is not the kind of evocation any show wants. Like "Conspiracy," "Decoded" has some howlers - all unintended - and some broadly questionable research and conclusions, all developed and pursued "in the moment," to give "Decoded" that sort of you-are-there-for-this-grand-adventure feel. Like Ventura's show, Meltzer's team even succumbs to flights of paranoid lunacy: Hey, what if the Masons stole the cornerstone as part of a centuries-long strategy for world domination? Or maybe Harry Truman made off with the bloody thing? (Oh, wouldn't that be just like Harry?) You suspect that beneath all this comedy is a good and interesting show that wants to break out. There are nine weeks to go. Maybe. . . .
"Decoded" is likable, but goofy. There are interesting facts and factoids here, but they are largely smothered under layers of pseudo-drama and faux research.