May 18, 2010

CBC Pilot Burn-Off Time | The Cult (2010)

Sometimes the best programs on CBC Television are the pilots aired once, then dropped in the middle of the harbour.  The Cult (CBC: New Kingdom Productions Ltd./Crescent Entertainment/Big Dog Productions/Chokolat Inc./ITV?, 2008) is one such program, a drama unlike anything else currently on CBC.

Nathan Fall (Henry Czerny) is determined to retrieve his daughter Rachel (Alexia Fast) from the Apostles of the Second Son, a cult perverting(?) Christian mythology.  Nathan has not seen Rachel for five weeks, as he and soon-to-be ex-wife Evelyn (Torri Higginson) have neglected her.  Nathan plans to infiltrate the cult, which sells itself on television as New Eden.

The Cult also focuses on the life of Lucas (Richard Harmon), a teen living in what looks like a halfway house.  He notices the commercial for New Eden, of which Rachel is its figurehead.  Lucas is not initially aware of how New Eden will soon control his life.

Soon, Rachel speaks to Lucas through the television.  Lucas eventually sees rain and fish fall from inside the halfway house.  Could Rachel really be the second coming of Mary, Mother of Jesus, or is Lucas suffering from mental disabilities?  The Cult doesn’t answer this question, not that first episodes of serial dramas ever do.

The best thing about The Cult is that the show is ambiguous about Apostles of the Second Son’s intentions.  Apostles of the Second Son has allegedly been around since Christianity itself.  Outsiders who reveal the Apostles’ existence, like Dr. Frank Hollingshurst (Vincent Gale), tend to die.  The Apostles like to cover the bases for when the Rapture comes.

There’s been mention at TV, Eh? of The Cult, albeit confined to comments on a Republic of Doyle piece.  One commenter wonders why The Cult was passed up for Republic of Doyle.

I grant Republic of Doyle its existence, although I haven’t revised my thoughts on the show since its first episode.  Keeping RoD in mind, why would CBC pass on The Cult?  I see no reason why The Cult couldn’t work as a series, especially when Henry Czerny’s the lead actor.

Maybe I’m overhyping a pilot that has fallen through the cracks of government-aided obsolescence.  It happens.  Show co-creator Angus Fraser is responsible for The Movie Network/Movie Central’s 2005 series Terminal City, and it would be nice to see more Fraser on Canadian television.

Jeff Spriet and James Wilkes’ 11 Cameras was dumped on CBC’s summer schedule in 2006, and that show is surprisingly good.  The Cult‘s three creators can obviously spin something watchable, so why not let them do it?  Does Debbie Travis need a feel-good reality show so badly?

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