Recon (FOX) pilot preview: here’s how Quantico season 2 should look like…

RECON

Created and executive procuced by Caroline Dries (The Vampire Diaries, Smallville, Melrose Place 2009). Directed by Adam Davidson (Community, Parenthood, Big Love, Grey’s Anatomy). Also executive produced by Julie Plec (The Originals, The Vampire Diaries, Kyle XY) & Kevin Williamson (The Vampire Diaries, The Following, Dawson’s Creek, Scream). For FOX & Warner Bros. Television. 63 pages.

Description: Alexa Reikowski, a rookie FBI agent, embeds herself in a suspected terrorist family, the Mazaris, four months after a terrible attack on the american soil killed the Vice President and a dozen other people. Hired as an assistant to Farrah, the mother, she’s warmly welcomed and gets attached to them but she quickly discovers that they are not who they seem to be on the surface…

With Tracy Spiridakos (Revolution, Bates Motel), Nick Weschler (Revenge, Roswell), Alexander Siddig (Game Of Thrones, 24, Star Trek Deep Space Nine), Sarita Choudhury (Homeland, Kings, Hunger Games: Mockingjay), Amanda Warren (The Leftovers), Yasmin Kaur BarnKaran Oberoi (NCIS), Leonidas Castrounis

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O-M-G! Finally something 100% original at FOX! I’m exaggerating, okay. There’s also Pitch & Star, which are. But Prison Break, Lethal Weapon, The Exorcist, 24:Legacy, The X-Files… it’s a lot. Needless to say, Recon has lesser chance to get picked up, especially since it’s about terrorism: Homeland is still a thing; 24:Legacy will be a thing –of course, they will order it whether it’s good or not– & Quantico is… something –not the hit it was supposed to become, partly because of bad scheduling, but not a flop either. So I’m very confused about this pilot. I definitely enjoyed the ride but in the end I’m not sure the show it’s supposed to be is needed right here right now. I totally get why FOX ordered it to pilot though: it’s efficient and it has potential over the course of 3-4 13-episode seasons. In fact I think it would have been a formidable idea for Quantico, season 2: Alex Parrish sent undercover inside a suspected terrorist family. Hey Quantico team, if Recon is not ordered, just steal the idea and it’ll be perfect!

Kevin Williamson is producing. This man knows how to make hits and entertaining television. Or knew. His last attempt, Stalker, was more of a disaster. But weaker shows worked at CBS. Ordering it made sense. Creating it too. Sometimes, you just need to eat! This year, he’s on two other pilots: Time After Time for ABC & Ghost for The CW. Did you know every pilot he did got ordered to series since the beginning of his career? So either he will have three new shows on the air next year (+ The Vampire Diaries & The Originals) or he will fail at this stage for the first time. Does Recon look like a loser? Not on the page at least. But I agree: The Vampire Diaries‘ team dealing with terrorism is a frightening thought. And choosing Tracy Spiridakos & Nick Weschler as leads is kind of a stupid idea. I guess they had no other choice. I’m not saying they’re not good –they are good-looking– but… charisma, anyone? I fear they won’t be able to do justice to this smart script and bring it to another level.

I loved the opening sequence of Recon and I will spoil it to you like crazy. Anyway, the trailer will, sooner or later… So we’re inside a funeral home, following an embalmer working on the dead body of a 70 year-old-woman. There’s flesh and blood. A scalpel. A drain tube. Ankles twisted. Bones cracking. It’s precise. It’s gore. It’s like one of those disgusting scenes in Nip/Tuck when you’re about to vomit just by watching it. And soon we discover he’s… hiding a ticking bomb inside of the body! And it’s not anyone’s body. It’s the Vice President’s wife’s body! A few hours later, it explodes inside Washington National Cathedral, killing the Vice President and sixteen other souls. Cut to black! That’s what I call an opening sequence, my friends. And good news: it’s not a “6 six months before” just right after. But a much more enoyable and original these days “Four months later”.

The rest of the pilot is less exciting but it’s a job well done anyway. Mostly. There’s action and suspense, and this family is a mistery we’re amazed to delve into. They are so ambiguous… And yes, it’s way too easy and cliché sometimes, like those flashbacks showing that the heroine’s dad was killed during 9/11 and that explains why she entered the FBI, so it never happens again. But Alexa is no Carrie Mathison. Not even a tiny Carrie. And the whole set up is just not realistic and doesn’t always take the right direction in my opinion. Making our heroine probably falling in love with one of the terrorist is 1/ already done 2/ kind of ridiculous in this context. But that’s what happens when you create young and beautiful characters and cast models to play them: you want them to fuck with each other at some point. But we’re not in Grey’s Anatomy! Or in Mystic Falls. It’s pretty serious stuff. Come on!

Because of the cast and the inevitable comparisons that will be drawn between the show and Homeland, Recon seems to be doomed from the get go. And honestly, people want to have fun. They don’t want another show about terrorism. They already have plenty to choose from. If FOX can attract people with the pilot -which I doubt of- they won’t be able to keep them interested much longer, unless they assume to make something completely dumb, only based on twists, but it’s not exactly what we’re promised here and we can’t blame them for that. Not smart enough, not dumb enough…

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