Zoo Tuesdays, 9 p.m., CBS.
The big reveal at the end of the first episode of Zoo involves a bunch of house cats in a tree, which gives you a sense of how unsuccessful the show is at creating the kind of tension and menace it aspires to. Deadly serious when it ought to be at least a little campy, Zoo envisions a world in which animals have begun to coordinate deadly attacks on humans, and only a handful of people realize what’s going on. Those people include a zoologist turned safari guide (James Wolk), a plucky newspaper reporter (Kristen Connolly) and a curmudgeonly animal pathologist (Billy Burke). As they track lion attacks in Botswana and missing kitties in Brentwood, they witness the beginning of a global catastrophe (or cat-astrophe, if you will).
Based on a novel by the ultra-prolific James Patterson (co-written with Michael Ledwidge), Zoo is set up as a blockbuster event, but it feels disappointingly limited, with a handful of characters standing in for what is meant to be a worldwide epidemic. The animal attacks are more cheesy than scary, and the hints of a conspiracy storyline are already tiresome after a single episode. Zoo could have been silly, over-the-top fun, but instead it’s plodding and monotonous.