A weirdo DJ playing a song by the 80’s band OMD, frenzied looking bunnies, and a terrified woman in a cage. That was enough to keep me watching the new TV series Hunters based on Whitley Strieber’s book Alien Hunter. His 2013 book series is summed up with an excerpt from the book’s website www.alienhunterbook.com below:
“In Alien Hunter, which is the first in what will be a series, I have created a character, Flynn Carroll, a cop who ends up working with alien cops to clean up alien criminals on Earth. Flynn has a powerful motive: they took his wife and never returned her.
He’s a man obsessed. He wants revenge, and he wants his beloved Abby back. When he’s recruited by the most secret police unit in the world–the Alien Hunters – he finds his true vocation and becomes the single most dangerous force any alien criminal could encounter on Earth. Bad news for them, good news for us. Dangerous news for Flynn.”
The Alien Hunter series is par for the course for Strieber, who is well-known for his accounts of alleged abductions by “visitors” in his earlier work Communion, as well as his classic horror contributions with The Wolfen and The Hunger which were made into feature films. He has been a prolific writer over the decades, a believer in aliens and other-worldly beings, and a fixture in the sci-fi/horror world.
The first episode of Hunters is actually quite good. What sounds like typical sci-fi fare translates well on the small screen. We are introduced to main characters right away in an action-packed chase. Secret agents hunt a sleeper cell of nasty aliens in the opening scenes, and we also meet Flynn Carroll (played by Wolf Creek’s Nathan Phillips), an FBI agent who searches for his missing wife. He has PTSD from being a war veteran, a troubled charge in his dead partner’s daughter, and a slight drug problem. He’s a mess, but already a likeable character, and is suddenly thrown into the secret anti-terrorist world.
The Exo-Terrorism Unit that we see in the show opening is led by Truss Jackson (Lewis Fitz-Gerald), a gruff no-nonsense agent who oversees Regan (Britne Oldford), Briggs (Mark Cole Smith), and Page (Stephen Anderton). They are traumatized by the loss of Page within the first few minutes of the episode, and the relationship between the remaining agents become strained as the aliens elude them again and again. The lead “terrorist” alien McCarthy (TV bad guy Julian McMahon) masquerades as a DJ who loops OMD’s Maid of New Orleans, is violently pesky, and McMahon plays him well. There’s a juicy twist with agent Regan whose character I already love. She’s a tough gal and I’m hoping her complexity is expanded in future episodes. There’s also plenty of weird alien autopsy scenes and exploding alien faces.
I’ll forgive that the production is filmed in Melbourne, Australia and being passed off as the U.S. (although not very well masked), and that the Aussie cast can’t hide their accent for long, because it’s actually an engaging, gory and action-packed show right from the start. With the show creator Natalie Chaidez, the brains behind Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Heros and executive producer for Syfy’s 12 Monkeys, as well as executive producer Gale Ann Hurd of The Walking Dead fame at the helm, there’s sure to be much more alien mayhem to come. I love the guttural alien growling, the over all menacing feel to the story, and, well, there is a random kitten and a bunch of bunnies (that have yet to reveal their significance) running around after all!
I recommend checking this show out. The reviews have been generally harsh, calling it generic Syfy series fare, but I can dig it and I’m giving it a chance. I think it has potential and great cross-over for horror and sci-fi fans alike.
Hunters airs on Syfy Monday nights at 10 p.m. and on Showcase same night and time in Canada.