This first paragraph is what I had to continually remind myself while watching Hostages, because I was mostly a very frustrated viewer that wanted to feel more inside of the story and characters, but was limited by the 41 minute run time and the need to establish a new world. So, I actually don't have a lot to say about the pilot, except that it obviously wasn't a perfect one. Which is not at all damning, it just is the current circumstance. I'll post a couple of miscellaneous notes I made to myself while watching, but at this point I have no idea if this show is going to turn out to be a hit or a miss.
1) At least they cast an actor who actually looks like he could be elected president, damn it. James Naughton has the steely gaze, weathered features, and strong bone structure of someone who would be friendly to the cameras. Why does this matter to me? Mostly because Scandal failed at casting a believable president so egregiously when they went with Tony Goldwyn. No way anyone looks at a photo of that guy and votes for him on purpose.
2) The daughters of both Dylan McDermott and Toni Collette's characters have equally bad cases of stupid face, which I introduced in another article, and so far this is hindering my empathy glands from getting me completely invested. Again, this might just be a sign that I am prematurely a grumpy old woman who thinks the younger generation should be seen and not heard.
3) I don't want to distrust Collette's acting, but I hope the narrative in the next couple episodes sheds some light on her strangely passive parenting. It was very off-putting, and made me feel uncomfortable with her position as loving parent. If it ends up being a juicy hint of family dysfunction, ok. But otherwise, why is she watching her husband discipline her son with zero interest, and only making a passing attempt to keep her daughter around? She doesn't seem chill, she seems disconnected.
4) Hiring a skinhead dead-eyes to act as the anonymous chilling factor felt a bit much, as was some of McDermott's more over-the-top menacing dialogue. He was the most convincing as a genuine threat when he wasn't trying to uptalk himself. Let those gorgeous blue eyes do their best freeze-out work without belaboring the point.
Yes, the most you're still going to get out of these posts is that Mary has improper feelings about Dylan McDermott.