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Primal Screen

'Cult' wants to kidnap and brainwash you

Photo: Courtesy photo, License: N/A

Courtesy photo

'Cult'


Cult (8pm Tue, CW)
Cult offers one of the 2012-13 season’s most intriguing concepts. It’s about a TV series, itself named “Cult.” The show-within-the-show portrays a creepy cult run by a psycho who kidnaps and brainwashes his followers. “Cult” has inspired a legion of fans, some of whom go off the deep end in their obsession with clues and code words they detect in each episode.

Is the cult depicted in “Cult” the real deal, finding new members among the show’s fans? It sounds crazy to a reporter named Jeff (Matt Davis) until his brother —one of those obsessed fans — disappears after becoming a raging paranoiac. Jeff sets out to investigate along with a “Cult” crew member (Jessica Lucas), who wonders why the show’s producer is a mystery man never seen in public.

Cult is a wonderfully eerie creation, from the script to the score to the acting. To its credit, it gets under your skin with ideas and atmosphere rather than with shock effects and gore. I can imagine real viewers becoming obsessed with Cult in the same way that the fictional viewers become obsessed with “Cult.”

Uh-oh….

Zero Hour (7pm Thu, ABC)
I’m an aficionado of TV series that take their own mystical mumbo-jumbo seriously. Zero Hour is a classic of the genre, throwing in Rosicrucians, Nazis, the devil, ancient Christian symbols, and treasure maps in a deliriously misguided attempt to be profound. Hank (Anthony Edwards) publishes a magazine that debunks supernatural phenomena, but he’s plunged into the supernatural himself after his wife is kidnapped from her clock-repair shop by an evildoer seeking to end mankind. And what better way to set off the apocalypse than by stealing a clock created for one of Jesus’ apostles by an old Bavarian dude?

Zero Hour provides so much wonderful nonsense that I barely know where to start. Hank, his two scruffy young assistants, and an FBI agent with supermodel cheekbones engage in jaunty banter even with Hank’s wife missing and the Earth in peril. At the drop of a hat, the Bavarian clockmaker spills shocking Christian secrets to the scruffy young assistants, making you wonder how this stuff supposedly stayed under wraps for 2,000 years. “These are matters you don’t vant to be involved vith!” he warns.

Speak for yourself, old man. I vant to be involved vith these matters as long as Zero Hour lasts. But I’m guessing its end vill come vell before mankind’s.

Legit (9:30pm Thu, FX)
If you thought TV didn’t offer quite enough prostitutes, defection or cynicism, Legit is the series for you. In this new comedy, a heartless Australian comic named Jim (Jim Jefferies) moves to L.A. to make his life more “legit.” He fails, sometimes amusingly so. The series pushes basic-cable raunchiness to new extremes as Jim stumbles through town with his neurotic friend Steve (Dan Bakkedahl) and Steve’s disabled brother (DJ Qualls).

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