SyFy has been on the roll in 2015 and 2016, bringing out great new series like Killjoys, Dark Matter, the Expanse and the Magicians, and now in 2016, they may have their first miss, which is surprising but not unforgivable.
The Hunters, based on Whitley Strieber’s novel Alien Hunter, tells of a government agency, the ETU (Exo-Terrorism unit) that researches and hunts extra terrestrial terrorists who are killing, capturing manipulating people both inside and outside the government to propagate their species and take control of humanity. They do this with enhanced strength, sound based weapons (which the ETU has reverse-engineered), bio engineering and terrorism, implanting their DNA into humans and using them to birth hybrids, and using sleeper cells to fight against the ETU.
The story starts from the perspective of an FBI agent recruited into the ETU after his wife is kidnapped by the Alien Hunters. She seems to have a prior connection to them and may be hybrid, as the hybrid fit in easily with humans until triggered by the Hunter’s sonic based telepathy. He is recruited into a pretty generic grouping of government types in the ETU: the hard working, morally torn commander, the gung-ho tank character with a gun fetish, and a espionage assassin who happens to be a reclaimed hybrid Hunter. The leader of the Alien Hunters is Lionel McCarthy, a clever and manipulative sadist who is working for the greater goals of his race, played by none other than Dr. Doom himself, Julian McMahon.
Julian McMahon is the only good thing about his show. Everyone else’s acting is trite, overdone, or forgettable. The other actors I have never heard of or seen before, and as good as McMahon is, he can’t carry the whole show by himself, especially as the villain. The production values are great from a technical standpoint, and the sound weapons are cool, but there is so much needless violence, blood and gore and gratuitous sex, that this show borders on meaningless torture porn, and not even in a cool, cheesy or artsy way like a David Cronenberg movie like Videodrome. It’s just kind of revolting and boring and useless; being gross for the sake of being gross.
SyFy ordered a full season but I doubt it will be renewed, based on reviews and viewer ship. The plot is common and predictable, and after three episodes, I do not have much hope for this show. I will keep watching a bit more to see if it takes a better turn, but it would have to 180 on lots of fronts for it to be worth my while, or yours. It’s a surprising fail for SyFy after a string of successes. But I think its premise is overdone and its tone and style were incorrect for the subject matter. They were going for dark and disturbing and they got depraved and irresponsibly visceral. Here’s hoping for an awesome summer season of second seasons of the good shows they pioneered last year.