Doug Coutts’ TV Preview: Odyssey

TV Preview: Odyssey | TV3, 9.30 Monday


By Doug Coutts

If you’re a career soldier smart enough to know an Al Qaeda scam in a single glance at a laptop, and smart enough to quickly download it onto a memory stick before the intel guys get there, and smart enough to work out the intel guys are actually black ops who’ve just killed the rest of your platform and are after you as well … then why would you be dumb enough to try and call home from the middle of the desert on a borrowed mobile? Even Girl Guides know those things can be tracked by satellite, for crying out loud.

That’s just one of many holes to be found in the sieve-like plot of the first episode of Odyssey.

War on terror blah blah blah black ops mercenaries blah blah blah corrupt corporates blah blah blah occupy movement blah blah blah reporter not really a reporter but who’s she working for blah blah blah aspergic conspiracy theorist stumbles on truth now missing blah blah blah paint by numbers thriller blah blah blah.

In-depth analysis aside, Odyssey is simply trying too hard. Everyone knows Big Business is running the world and that our every text, tweet and bowel movement is being monitored in underground complexes in the desert – piling on the ‘trust no one’ plot twists at a rate of one per minute may distract some viewers from the copycat and banal script, but for how long?

What other critics said:

“First-rate casting — including Anna Friel, Peter Facinelli and Treat Williams — can’t obscure the been-there, seen-that sensation, which doesn’t spur much curiosity about how these tentacles connect or offer much hope the show will last long enough to find out.” — Variety.

American Odyssey isn’t breaking new ground, exactly [but] this show still stands out. It’s faster paced, more sophisticated and unfolds like a movie. It also looks like one.” — New York Times.

“With a Homeland-style mastery of momentum and a Traffic-esque multi-narrative premise, Odyssey passes the biggest test of all when it comes to trying out new TV shows in today’s glut of offerings: As soon as the first episode was over, I was eager to see more.” — The Washington Post.

Doug Coutts has had a career in and around television for close to 40 years. He spent 13 years as a floor manager at Avalon Studios before going freelance and never earning as much again. His writing has spanned TV genres — from Shortland Street dialoguery and quiz shows to documentaries and comedy — while a lengthy stint as TV reviewer in the Auckland Star earned him two mentions in Metro magazine’s Hot List and an angry letter from Jon Gadsby. You can read more of Doug (the satirist) at:

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