Crisis Sundays, 10 p.m., NBC.
It’s bad enough when a vast criminal conspiracy kidnaps the son of the president of the United States as part of a vague, all-encompassing plan, but that’s not enough for Crisis. No, this show’s vast criminal conspiracy kidnaps an entire busload of teenage offspring of the world’s most powerful people, from the U.S. president to CEOs of multinational corporations to ambassadors and military officials. That kind of overkill defines Crisis, a sort of endearingly terrible thriller that makes CBS’ similar Hostages look sane.
The absurdly complicated master plan is just one of Crisis’ laughable elements, which also include some remarkably terrible acting (especially from Dermot Mulroney), clumsy expository dialogue, crude special effects and inane, melodramatic plot twists. The show is a marvel of miscasting, from Mulroney completely out of his depth as a secret mastermind to Rachael Taylor looking lost as a tough FBI agent to The X-Files’ Gillian Anderson struggling as a steely corporate executive. The teenagers range from annoying to really annoying, and their acting makes their adult counterparts look poised and talented by comparison. Crisis leaves the realm of believability pretty early in its first episode, and the only reason to come back for more would be to see how ridiculous it can get.