Below is an updated and revised review for The Nine

It is always hard to try and judge a television series based upon the pilot: parts get recast, showrunners leave, time periods change, the focus of the series itself shifts, etc., etc.  But, as much as any show can be poised for success The Nine seems to be.   The cast is solid (Scott Wolf, Tim Daly, Kim Raver, John Billingsley, Chi McBride, and many others), the writing is sharp, it airs after Lost, NBC has moved Law & Order to a different timeslot, and perhaps most importantly, I sat there for a full five minutes after watching the pilot wanting to know what in God’s name happened during the robbery.  I do not wish to get too deeply involved in specifics of the episode for fear of giving anything away, or lessening any of the impact, but the series does seem to be firing on all cylinders.

On the face, it is the story of a bank robbery, possibly gone wrong, possibly not, and the aftermath.  The audience is certainly led to believe that the robbery was botched, but maybe, just maybe, it was all part of a larger plan. 

The pilot episode shows what happened just before the bank robbery and immediately following, with short flashbacks of the robbery interspersed throughout.  The rest of the series will explore how the lives of the nine people held hostage during the bank robbery are forever changed and what it was exactly that happened during the 52 hours the standoff took place.  Though I indicate that there were nine hostages, it seems highly likely that while all nine people claim to have been held hostage at least one was working with the robbers (but that’s a guess).

The Nine certainly has the feel of a show that is going to try to keep viewers guessing as to motivations and actions throughout its run.  If the writers can keep one step ahead of the viewers, without going over the top, it should make for a very fun ride.   However, if it tries to be too clever, it may find that it upsets and alienates everyone but its most dedicated fans.

There are a couple of other concerns about the show too.  Even if it seems as though it will be successful, there are always concerns.  Maybe the bits and pieces of what happened during the robbery will be revealed too slowly and the audience will lose interest. Perhaps the next few episodes won’t be as good.  Maybe Kidnapped (another new show, airing on NBC opposite The Nine) will be HUGE and suck away viewers.  The ratings for the first few episodes of Kidnapped certainly don’t indicate that this will be the case, but you never know, it may make a comeback.  And there is also the universal truth that a good show (and The Nine is a good show) doesn’t necessarily make for a successful show.  If networks knew the exact recipe for a successful show nothing would ever fail.

If I had to make a prediction I’d say that The Nine will make it to season 2.  I still may watch Kidnapped instead, but maybe I can alter space and time and manage to fit both into my already over-burdened TV schedule. If I can, I’m sure I won’t be sorry. 

The Nine premieres on ABC Wendesday, October 4th at 10pm.