The Confession (Hulu)

Created by and starring Kiefer Sutherland, The Confession is a story of unique redemption and an exploration of good and evil featuring a hit man (Kiefer Sutherland), and a priest (John Hurt). The story begins on Christmas Eve, when the hit-man enters a church to confess his sins to the priest. Through a series of gripping flashbacks, the Confessor’s journey is revealed – laying out what has brought him to this moment and leading the audience to the dramatic ending where the man’s chances at ultimate redemption hang in the balance. While at first the Confessor seems to be an evil, cold-blooded killing machine and the Priest the ultimate arbiter of good, as the series develops it becomes clear that both characters are much more complicated than either could have suspected. – Hulu

9 out of 10

NOTE: As an added bonus, all links to shows and films in this review link to the actual shows and films on YouTube or Netflix.  Enjoy!

Last month we told you about the new, ten-part web series called The Confession starring Golden Globe and Emmy Award Winning Kiefer Sutherland (24, The Sentinel) and two-time Academy Award nominee, John Hurt (The Elephant Man, Midnight Express) in which a hitman (Sutherland) in a confessional has a metaphysical (it’s defnitely more metaphysical than theological, despite the show description) debate with a priest (Hurt) about right and wrong, good and evil, faith and doubt and the existence of God.  We had high hopes for this because it looked just so damned juicy and of course, simply look at the players involved.  How can one not be excited?

An Evil Jack Bauer? Fascinating...

The Confession has completely exceeded our expectations as far as suspense, intrigue and production values are concerned.  “The Hitman” (that’s the actual name of Sutherland’s character as Hurt’s is “The Priest.”) is literally the Jack Bauer from the alternate universe form the original Star Trek episode, Mirror, Mirror.  It’s as if Jack Bauer had two choices in life: go work for the government and use his particular brand of emotionless professionalism to protect his country and kill bad guys or become a dispassionate sociopath who works in organized crimes and kills random people for a living.  This Jack Bauer chose the latter.  I really can’t emphasize enough just how similar the two characters are so if you ever wondered how Bauer would be as a villain, here he is.

But, holy crap does this work.  The Hitman is cold, calculating and half of the adventure is just trying to figure out what his ulterior motive is, because we know he has one.  He wants to understand faith, but that’s not all, and we learn about his life through a series of flashbacks, each more contradictory than the last.  Hurt is brilliant in playing the role of the parish priest who starts out this conversation out of fear for his life and the lives of his parishioners but eventually it’s clear that The Priest is as fascinated with how this man became who he is and if he can help in find redemption.  It also becomes quite clear that The Priest is no more what he seems to be on the surface than The Hitman is. This Yin and Yang back and forth is beyond compelling.  Simply imagine if Jesus and Lucifer sat down in a coffee shop and had a conversation and Jesus is trying to convince Lucifer to come home.  It is simply amazing how good this series is at captivating its audience for eight minutes at a time, once per week.

And this is the only thing we hate about this show and we took a point off because of it.  We want more.   Playing out more like a full length feature film shown in segments, this eight minutes at a time business is just not cutting it and then after the eight minutes is up, we have to wait another week?  The upside is that we waited for the first seven episodes to air before we watched it so we got to see them back-to-back.  The downside is that we still have three more episodes to go and we may pull our hair out in between episodes.  We hope when this is released on Blu-Ray that they’ll combine the ten parts into one episode.

With Emmy Award winning Sean Callery (24) providing the soundtrack to put the cherry on top, The Confession is one show that you can’t miss and we believe it’s going to revolutionize the concept of episodic dramatic television.  We just hope that the next series like this on the Interwebs gets some major financing and actually gives us full 45 minute episodes.  Note to the networks: if it’s as good as this we will watch the flippin’ commercials!

Watch full length episodes of The Confession, here, but be warned; you’ll wish you had waited until all of the episodes had aired so you could watch them in sequence with no gaps.

Fall 2010 Post-Game Wrap-Up (Thursday)

Welcome to part four of the mid-season 2010 – 2011 review. In this post we’ll be discussing Thursday’s programming.

8:30 p.m.

CBS – $#’! My Dad Says

Well, it certainly is $#’!-ty. After watching one episode of $#’! My Dad Says we determined that not only is the worst show of the new season, the worst sitcom we’ve ever seen but perhaps even the worst show in television history. Just to show that we were fair and objective, we endured three more episodes of this awfulness… our opinion has not changed.

It’s currently a bubble show right now which makes us lose all faith in humanity that anyone is watching it but CBS did cut short the episodes it ordered for the Spring so hopefully this will go away by May.

If you haven’t read our review of $#’! My Dad Says we highly recommend it as we consider it more of a community service than a review… like an intervention for people addicted to bad TV.  Read it here.

NBC – Community

Community is still one of the better sitcoms on television (there are only a handful) and currently it’s a toss-up between whether or not NBC will renew it for a third season. In our estimation, it should be renewed if for only the reason that it’s been relatively consistent on Thursday nights and there’s nothing on the sitcom horizon for NBC in the near future. We hope so. It’s the type of show you can turn on and just laugh at because of its ridiculousness. It’s one of our two Thursday Night guilty-pleasure. The second one is, of course…

9:00 p.m.

The CW – Nikita

We love Nikita and we really shouldn’t because it’s a mediocre bordering on terrible show. But it’s over-the-top campy goodness is something that keeps us coming back for more every week. The premise is beyond ridiculous and the performances are almost silly but there’s so much “pew, pew, pew” that we can’t stay away from it.

There’s another reason why we have a soft spot for this puppy and it’s not because Maggie Q (Live Free or Die Hard) looks incredibly hot in a bikini. It’s because we heart The CW. A show like this could never survive on major prime-time network but The CW and it hearkens back to the late 90’s with UPN when they would take chances on shows like The Sentinel, Nowhere Man and our personal favorite 7 Days.

These shows, like the shows on The CW can thrive on very small audience numbers compared to the other major networks. There is no chance that camp like Nikita could ever survive anywhere but The CW and for that we are thankful for The CW. There is only ONE show that will not be renewed (that isn’t in its planned final season) on The CW next year (Life Unexpected). That’s just awesome.

NBC – The Office

Well, we’ve been concerned about this for a longtime but it’s official: The Office just isn’t as funny as it used to be and it has run out of steam. It’s still enjoyable but it’s not nearly as funny as it used to be. It’s really jumped the shark as evidenced by the fact they are resorting to revolving around another sitcom (the Glee viewing party episode). C’mon, now.

We’re still watching because it certainly has its moments, and actually, the aforementioned Glee episode was pretty funny although we cringe at the concept in principle. That being said, no one has anything to be concerned about because it’s certain to be renewed for next Fall.

9:30 p.m.

NBC – Outsourced

Outsourced is one of the most disappointing shows this season but it’s not because it’s a bad show. It’s cute and it’s clever but it’s a sitcom trying to be funny and it’s really not. We pointed out in our review that the problem is that the novelty of the culture clashes and funny accents only works for about ten minutes, yet Outsourced is an entire series that revolves around those gimmicks.

A couple of months ago we saw the 2006 film of the same name and we realized that there’s a reason why the film doesn’t translate to a sitcom: the film wasn’t a comedy to begin with. Yes, there was humor to it but he film was really a character driven story about how despite different cultures may be, we’re really not all that different after all. Sitcoms don’t work with the touchy-feely any more like they did in the 1980’s where there were a bunch corny jokes and Alex P. Keaton and Vanessa Huxtable learned a valuable lesson at the end of every episode. Audiences today want their sitcoms to have the most laughs possible during the course of 21 minutes and that’s really what it’s about it.  Whatever lessons are to be learned are secondary.  Outsourced the series, like the film, is focusing more on the valuable lessons with the comedy as an afterthought.

If we’re going to watch a sitcom, we want it to be funny. Outsourced unfortunately is not. It’s currently leaning toward “the-more-likely-to-be-renewed-than-not” category but we doubt audiences are going to continue to tolerate it until May.

Next, we take a look at Friday’s programming.