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“Zero Hour”

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Zero Hour Provides a Di Vinci Code– like Feeling to Television

Michael Watts

Kidnapping. Nazi experimentation. A secret hidden inside a mysterious old clock. These are elements that construct Zero Hour a new television series on ABC. The series stars Anthony Edwards, who plays Hank Galliston, a magazine publisher devoted to debunking myths and conspiracies, who quickly finds himself in one. He accompanies his wife (Jacinda Barrett) at a flea market. She discovers a strange, old clock that immediately gets her kidnapped from her antique clock shop and draws him in for a search for a secret that would destroy mankind as we know it which has been concealed by the Rosicrucians for generations. (Aside: Why do people in these stories have to protect these earth-shattering secrets instead of destroying them? Are they waiting for the right time for people who are mature enough to handle them? That’s obviously not going to happen).

Luckily, Hank finds a map with clues hidden inside the old clock his wife found at the flea market, but the map is inscribed in a lost ancient language. Hank is joined by two staff members from the magazine (Addison Timlin and Scott Michael Foster) and an obstinate FBI agent (Carmen Ejogo) on a global, century-wide search that would decide on the fate of humanity. Hank’s adversary, who kidnapped his wife and is ahead of him in the race for obtaining this dangerous secret, is a sinister man known as White Vincent (Michael Nyqvist).

As Hour progresses, the paths of White Vincent and Hank will be more intertwined. “My projection through the whole series is to get closer to Hank, and Hank’s way to go is to get closer to me,” Nyqvust says.

Hour is far different from ER. “I think I knew that whatever I did would have to be as different or as special for different reasons. For me to go back into a medical drama would have been pretty ridiculous,” says Edwards, who is returning to series television after leaving ER in 2002. “To do mystery, epic, conspiracy-type stories is about as opposite storytelling-wise as I could find.”

Edwards compares Hour to The Da Vinci Code and Raiders of the Lost Ark, and executive producer, Zack Estrin, also compares the show to National Treasure. What differs, Edwards says, is that Hank is the ‘new kid on the block’ to being introduced to that world and has no special skills or talents.

“I’m not a gun-toting adventurer who is used to being thrust into life-and-death situations the way we are here. It’s not like I’m of the world of solving international conspiracies,” he says. “It’s more of an Everyman story. I think I’m kind of the conduit for the audience that way. You don’t hire Anthony Edwards because he’s going to take his shirt off and shoot a gun.”

Estrin reveals how long it would take viewers to get the resolution. “We’re going to tell a complete story in 13 episodes and not make you hang around for eight years to get your answers,” he says. “Time is really valuable now. People like to know, ‘If I invest, am I definitely going to get my answer?'” If the show survives for a second season, then a new story will arise. Even though the show seemed to start off on a great and suspenseful first episode, only time will tell if the series makes it or breaks it. You can catch Zero Hour on ABC every Thursday at 8 ET/PT).

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