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Cult: Alaric vs. Reality TV


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#1

Slingblade

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Posted Jun 8, 2012 @ 11:15 AM

Investigative journalist Jeff Sefton (Matt Davis) has learned to laugh off his brother Nate's relentless string of obsessions, especially his latest rant that a hit TV show intends to harm him. However, when his brother mysteriously disappears, Jeff takes Nate's paranoia seriously, and in the process uncovers the dark underworld of the TV show "Cult" and its rabid fans. The only person who seems willing to help Jeff with his investigation is Skye (Jessica Lucas), a young research assistant for "Cult," who has also started to grow suspicious of the increasingly dark happenings surrounding the show. The fictitious show, centered on the cat-and-mouse game between charismatic cult leader Billy Grimm (Robert Knepper) and LAPD detective Kelly Collins (Alona Tal), has become an obsession for its viewers -- and now some of its devotees seem to be taking their fixation to deadly extremes in the real world. As Jeff and Skye dig deeper into the fan world, they discover that the gruesome plot twists on television are much more than fantasy for some very unfortunate people. The hardcore fans of "Cult" would kill to see what happens next...


This creepy thriller-type show is set to hit the CW in January/February 2013 (it's a mid-season replacement and will only have 13 episodes). We still don't know what it's time-slot will be - right now, it's most likely to replace one of the shows that are only airing in the first half of the season anyway (Gossip Girl's final season on Monday, America's Next Top Model on Friday), but it could also replace one of the CW's other new shows if they bomb so hard that they don't get a full-season pickup.

I'm looking forward to this show for a couple of reasons. One is the capable-looking cast -

Matt Davis - I've liked him in all the roles I've seen him play, be it douchey boyfriend in Legally Blonde, cunning investigative reporter in Damages, or snarky, big-hearted vampire hunter in The Vampire Diaries. Heck, even when he had to turn around and play villainous characters on TVD (Klaus possessing Alaric, Vamp!Alaric), he did it well. It remains to be seen if he can actually carry a show, but I'm optimistic.
Alona Tal - loved her on Veronica Mars and Supernatural, where her characters were annoyingly killed off well before their time. (I've also enjoyed her work in Israeli series The Prime Minister's Children, which most people probably don't know.) She's a talented actress who can have a breakout if she just finds the right role, methinks.
Robert Knepper - only ever seen him on the horrid final season of Heroes, and while that was well and truly a nightmare to watch, he somehow maintained his actorly dignity. In fact, he played the kind of creepy cult leader type he's required to do here. Never seen Prison Break but I take it he was pretty awesome there.
Jessica Lucas - only one I'm completely unfamiliar with...?

The other reason this show looks good is the premise. While the show-within-a-show thing may be confusing (I think they should have given it a different title than that of the ACTUAL show...), it's an interesting idea for sure: a lot of studies show that pop culture influences our behavior and perception of reality to some degree. For example, people believe there's more violence out there than there actually is because they see so much on TV. An intelligently written show can explore that concept fascinatingly, showing that at some point, people can become so obsessed with TV that the lines between it and reality blur - which is extremely dangerous.

On a general note, new CW president Mark Pedowitz seems to be making a last-ditch effort to save the network by gearing it towards a more diverse audience. At the moment, it's mostly teen/early 20's girls who are watching the CW, for cheesy shows about love triangles and contrived drama; they need more mature, complex shows to overturn that. If Arrow (the other new CW show I'm interested in) and Cult are any good, they could lead the way.

Finally, you can watch an early promo for the show to get some idea of what it's gonna be about.

Edited by Slingblade, Jun 12, 2012 @ 4:42 AM.

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#2

EndoKE

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Posted Jun 27, 2012 @ 9:52 AM

Sounds interesting. Jessica Lucas used to be in "Gossip Girl," but Robert Knepper really creeped me the hell out in Prison Break, he played a real, nasty, nasty character. I'll be watching.
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#3

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Posted Jun 28, 2012 @ 3:21 PM

What caught my attention is the fact that Rockne O'Bannon (of Farscape fame) is the writer executive producer of the pilot. However I'm not sure if I'll watch it since I'm not into the thriller genre.
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#4

Slingblade

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Posted Jul 3, 2012 @ 3:22 PM

I have to say, after discovering the Matt Davis Twitter fiasco, I'm gonna have to work on separating MD's real-life persona from his acting when I watch this show. He comes off as an arrogant, rude and ignorant asshole who has zero respect for his show's fans. Then again, I was able to watch the Mission: Impossible movies with Tom Cruise, so I guess I'll be okay.

On a different note, I wonder how the fact that the first (and hopefully, if the show is any good, not only) season is 13 episodes will affect it. It seems like a serialized drama, so a shorter episode order could help viewers keep track of things. In general, the cable format of short seasons seems to help with that, so it may be a good thing for networks as well.

I'm still, however, unsure how the schedule is going to work out; the show will be premiering in midseason, and the second half of the TV season tends to have lower ratings across the board. On top of that, since the two vacant spots on the CW's schedule will be on Monday and Friday, and the former will presumably be filled by The Carrie Diaries (a natural fit to replace Gossip Girl as 90210's companion), Cult may well end up on Friday. A freshman show on the CW, premiering on the Friday Night Timeslot of Death...? Oh dear.
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#5

Slingblade

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Posted Jul 29, 2012 @ 5:26 AM

The WB has put the full Cult 2012 Comic-Con Panel up on YouTube.

It sounds more and more like a mystery type of show, with various clues dropped along the way for the audience to piece things together. I hope they have everything planned out, so it doesn't go wildly off-base (O'Bannon claims they've already figured out the solution to the main mystery, and that even the Pilot will have clues for it). It certainly seems to have the potential to be addictive, in the screencap-analyzing, pause-and-rewind, endless speculation way of shows like Lost. I do appreciate a show that challenges the viewer to figure things out. The 13-episode cable model does seem suitable to this show, and will hopefully allow them to stay on track without unnecessary filler eps and the plot getting too muddled.

I hope Robert Knepper doesn't overact, though. It's hard to judge from the bits we've seen, and I know a cult leader has to be charismatic and full of presence and all that to draw people in, but he seems a bit too bombastic. For the show to be dark and the character to be menacing (especially as he appears to be the main villain), the actor should refrain from scenery-chewing. Then again, he's said to have been great as T-Bag.

So yeah, definitely excited for this, and it seems to be arriving at just the right time - the explosion of social media and TV fans' obsession with their fav shows. It's already hard enough to wait til October for the beginning of the TV season, though: I don't even want to think of waiting until January for this particular show, a midseason replacement. That's just brutal.
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#6

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Posted Jul 29, 2012 @ 1:09 PM

I love Matt Davis, but Robert Knepper?

I mean, without seeing the show at all I'm assuming he's a serial killer or something. I'm not sure if I can enjoy him or not.

Aside from that, I'm not sure how they will sustain the premise.
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#7

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Posted Aug 22, 2012 @ 11:35 AM

CW Fall Preview, including new Cult footage - skip to 18:24, that's when the Cult clip starts.

It's still hard to gauge exactly what's going on because the plot is quite complicated, especially when it's unclear when we're in the show, and when in the show-within-the-show. However, it continues to look creepy and intriguing (and the preview is really well-done, visually). If done right, this show could really turn into an addictive mystery, making you pause and rewind to try to catch clues and piece things together. After Arrow, it's my 2nd most anticipated new show next season.
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#8

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Posted Feb 12, 2013 @ 5:45 PM

The first episode is up on Hulu Plus.

This is actually the first I've heard of it, and according to the shows Wikipedia page, it was actually supposed be be a show on The WB starring Matthew Bomer, but it was dropped when CW happened.

It's got a unique concept, and I rather like it.
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#9

marieelise0928

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Posted Feb 12, 2013 @ 7:21 PM

I just watched the first episode -- I'm also enjoying it so far. I'm finding it more intriguing than the Following at this point. Looking forward to seeing more!
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#10

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Posted Feb 13, 2013 @ 6:25 PM

I enjoyed it enough that I'll tune in for the second episode, but seconding Slingblade here, I hope they have a water-tight plot already mapped out. And for me to tune in for 12 more episodes, the audience is going to have to get at least a few answers every ep. I don't have the patience to watch that many weeks before I get any resolution. (I have a super short attention span, though, so YMMV).
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#11

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Posted Feb 15, 2013 @ 6:38 AM

It seems like someone is a fan of Supernatural. The wall, journal, and car has a very Supernatural feel to it.

I am not sure if I liked it or not. I'm not sure on the "tv show" and rl switching back and forth. It was creepy and interesting but I don't know. I will give it a few eps.
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#12

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Posted Feb 16, 2013 @ 2:01 AM

That cop was intolerable. She was still suspicious of Jeff about that women's death even when there was a witness to the whole thing literally staring her in the face. Worst. Cop. Ever.
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#13

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Posted Feb 16, 2013 @ 1:18 PM

That cop was intolerable. She was still suspicious of Jeff about that women's death even when there was a witness to the whole thing literally staring her in the face. Worst. Cop. Ever.


I thought she was acting that way with him because she is part of whatever wierd cult thing his brother is involved in and making him look guilty or crazy diverts attention to what they have going on.

Edited by quazimodo, Feb 16, 2013 @ 1:24 PM.

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#14

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Posted Feb 16, 2013 @ 3:03 PM

Sure but her behavior was so illogical that it should attract more attention then it diverts.
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#15

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Posted Feb 17, 2013 @ 3:35 PM

The pilot episode is free on CW's web site.

Last weekend I just rewatched (for the nth time) Legally Blonde on TV, so it was weird to see "Warner" in this. And that movie is 12(!!) years old. I don't watch any other CW shows besides Supernatural.

I want to like this, but I just don't know. The computer disk scene just killed me--Warner asks production assistant what the disk does on the show, and she says it basically infects the computer with a virus and infects all the person's contacts. So he just puts that disk right on in! Herp derp!
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#16

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Posted Feb 17, 2013 @ 4:36 PM

I just finished watching the pilot and ... I have no unearthly idea what's going on. I love a good mystery, and many of the people attached really make it look like a no-brainer to watch. But. I'm worried this could turn into another Lost, with nothing ever explained. I stopped watching Lost after the giant foot, when I realized they were and had always been winging it. I don't want to get invested with no pay off.

Edited by hotspurious, Feb 17, 2013 @ 4:36 PM.

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#17

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Posted Feb 18, 2013 @ 7:22 AM

The computer disk scene just killed me--Warner asks production assistant what the disk does on the show, and she says it basically infects the computer with a virus and infects all the person's contacts. So he just puts that disk right on in! Herp derp!


Yes, but he went on to say that he doesn't care what the disk does, he just wanted to see what was on it. I think his actual words were "Let it do whatever it wants to do." I think he was mostly curious about what was going to happen because at that point he wasn't sure yet if there was really a threat or all just in his head.

I also don't think the disk on the Cult Tv show infects the person's contacts. What it did was collecting all data on that person's computer and send it to whoever made the virus. Which is the same thing that happened to Jeff's computer. You can see the virus starting to list all kinds of personal information about him.
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#18

ladyrott

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Posted Feb 18, 2013 @ 10:27 AM

I saw a preview for this one and decided to give it a chance. It's set on my DVR so I am psyched for the episode (I dearly miss Alaric on TVD). It seems like the premise is a good one, it's just a matter of the writers being able to pull it off. If it turns out to be another Lost (which I gave up after season 2), I will be seriously pissed.
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#19

Tippi Blevins

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Posted Feb 18, 2013 @ 9:54 PM

I'll be doing weecaps for the show. I didn't know much about the show when I got the assignment, but I'm cautiously optimistic, based on what I've read so far.

#20

Gibasi

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Posted Feb 19, 2013 @ 10:09 PM

Weecaps! I can't wait.

This was so creepy. I am looking forward to the next episode.
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#21

SzmuttyPratfall

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Posted Feb 19, 2013 @ 10:13 PM

That was kind of awfully done in terms of Dialogue, effects, and acting. Was it just me, or did Miriam put a gun to the side of her head and then the blood sprayed out of the back? And the show-within-a-show was better done than the actual story, cheese and all.
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#22

Tippi Blevins

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Posted Feb 19, 2013 @ 10:17 PM

I was just writing the recaplet, and accidentally typed "Billy Graham" instead of "Billy Grimm."

Pilot episodes are usually pretty rough, so I'll try not to judge this one too harshly. Yet.

#23

bparhad

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Posted Feb 19, 2013 @ 11:34 PM

I liked it enough to keep watching. I don't think it was amazing, but I actually liked it better than The Following (which I already gave up watching). It kept my interest, and I could watch Robert Knepper in anything; I find him such a captivating actor. I loved Matthew Davis on the Vampire Diaries (and boy is he pretty to look at) and Alona Tal on both Veronica Mars and during her stint on Supernatural, so I'm glad both of them are in this as well.

The weak link for me is Jessica Lucas. I hated her on Melrose Place, and her character here annoyed me within 5 minutes. I'm actually hoping it turns out that she's evil, because she seems WAY too helpful.

Edited by bparhad, Feb 19, 2013 @ 11:50 PM.

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#24

jediknight

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Posted Feb 20, 2013 @ 6:33 AM

I liked it. It was creepy, although it centers around Robert Knepper and I'm pretty sure I'd be creeped out if he said "Hello" to me. No offense to him, he's probably an extremely nice guy, but he's so damn good as the creepy villain. The mystery is intriguing.

Future episodes will need more of Knepper, though. He wasn't in this episode that much, but he was the best thing about it. But that's not too surprising, it's Robert freaking Knepper. I think he'll be the one to carry the show, and get people to keep watching.

I still can't believe that Alex Stone from Major Payne, became Christopher Pelant on Bones, and is in this show. Although if the ending is to be believed, he won't be around much longer.
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#25

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Posted Feb 20, 2013 @ 9:10 AM

I certainly appreciated the show’s push for originality.

Unfortunately I found the female cop extremely irritating. ‘Corrupt cops’ is one of my least favorite tropes.

Matt Davis was fine, and I liked the actress playing the researcher. Knepper was thankfully fairly restrained (he was such a massive scenery-chewer on Prison Break).

I’ll keep watching for now, but I do want to start getting some answers reasonably fast.
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#26

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Posted Feb 20, 2013 @ 12:45 PM

I think I liked the ideas behind the show, more than I Iiked the episode itself. It's trying something different than alot of other series, and I appreciate that. The pilot was full of exposition, which is normal, and I'm not totally invested yet, but I will definitely watch the next couple of eps. (Unless it's cancelled before then. The ratings were not good.)
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#27

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Posted Feb 20, 2013 @ 12:50 PM

D.O.A.

]The CW's Cult opened to 941,000 total viewers and a 0.3 rating, down sharply from both Emily Owens' own Tuesdays-at-9 premiere (1.7 mil/0.5) and finale (1.5 mil/0.4). Lobbing in another recent CW benchmark The Carrie Diaries debuted to 1.6 mil and a 0.6 (on a Monday). Hart of Dixie at 8 pm (1.4 mil/0.5) dipped a tenth.


Edited by DashDixon, Feb 20, 2013 @ 12:52 PM.

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#28

Tippi Blevins

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Posted Feb 20, 2013 @ 12:58 PM

Those ratings. Ouch.

Here's my recaplet. Full weecap tomorrow.

#29

Marcee

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Posted Feb 20, 2013 @ 1:14 PM

I liked it. I figured out the "Well, hey, these things just snap right off," thing about halfway through... posted on Twitter and was surprised to receive a response from the writers almost instantaneously. Pretty cool to have immediate access like that. I've already set a Season Pass, so I'll give this the run -- as long as it may be. Fingers crossed; seems like there's definite fun potential. I always get a kick out of the meta stuff.
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#30

hotspurious

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Posted Feb 20, 2013 @ 1:46 PM

They haven't really been promoting this heavily. They must be wary of it on some level.

I was attracted by Rockne O'Bannon, but I'm wary about whether or not the plot will gel. And those ratings! Yikes. Although, to be fair, this pilot has been up and running for some time on the website. A great number of people probably skipped the pilot because they'd already seen it. The next few episodes will tell the tale.
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