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Review – Hunters, S1E1

Hunters throws a lot out in the first episode…


Hunters is a new original series from Syfy, where a black bag department of the FBI is in pursuit of terrorists who are definitely unusual – and possibly extraterrestrial. They are subtle, organized, and have an as-yet-unexplained predisposition toward bunnies (I know, I don’t get it either). Being a HUGE fan of Eureka and Warehouse 13 in the past, and having enjoyed Dark Matter and The Expanse recently, I’m always willing to give Syfy plenty of elbow room when it comes to giving me a good show.

Out of the gate, Hunters makes it a point to crank up the creep factor. We get dim photography, peculiar thumping synth-pop, a moderately disheveled guy with what I’m led to believe should have dreadlocks sitting at a table, apparently DJ-ing for a cage full of glowing-eyed bunnies, and a naked lady (also in a cage) who’s bleeding from the ears. To be clear, the lady and the bunnies are in separate cages. I don’t know if it was meant to be this weird. I mean, I understand the idea of creating intrigue in the pilot, but… yeah.

In a nutshell, we meet the Exo-Terrorism Unit (ETU), and see them in action against the Hunters. We also get acquainted with our leading lady, Abby, her husband, Flynn, and their adopted daughter, Emme. It’s a decent introduction to the family unit, strained as it might be, that we can expect to root for going forward. McCarthy, the mopey DJ, kidnaps Abby, which kicks the show into high gear… or it tries to anyway. And that very well may be the issue that I have, so far, it’s trying too hard.

ETU vs. Hunters was enough for me; I was already bought in. The show, however, decided that before I could even get my seat warm, that I should also get a handle on Abby and Flynn’s marriage, their adopted teenage daughter, her spectrum disorder, Abby’s hearing impairment, Flynn’s active duty history and subsequent PTSD, his close relationship to his partner, his promise to raise Emme as his own upon said partner’s death, Flynn’s strained relationship with Emme, not to mention ETU agent Briggs blaming his partner Regan for the death of their partner on the opening op, then later sucking face with said sub-standard partner… I could go on. The point is the presentation felt a bit undercooked, as though meaningful things were being tossed at me in hopes that I would want to know more about them. There’s a lot here to digest, but I feel like I had to swallow most of it whole.

Apart from that, the action was more frenetic and jumpy than I prefer; too many quick cuts and unnecessary camera effects in an already dark setting compromised the flow, but it generally got the point across. I certainly got all I could stand of that odd croak rattle noise that seemed to seep into almost every frame of this show. There’s a point where they explain what it could be, but I really just wanted it to stop.

I’ve fallen for enough shows to know that some of the best stumble out of the blocks, so I’ll give Hunters a few episodes to find it’s stride. I’m giving the pilot a cautiously optimistic 3 out of 5 stars. Here’s hoping we find our balance.

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