Hostages-Channel 4 or Channel 104 on Virgin TV-Saturdays @ 9pm in the UK_Review of first episode: Pilot Episode-no spoilers and Episodes 2 & 3 some spoilers

Nb.  I wrote the Pilot episode review avoiding spoilers however all previews of Hostages do outline the premise of the plot.

Pilot Episode.

So Hostages is all quite smaltchy/ corny.   But that is because it is produced by Jerry Bruckheimer.  However Hostages has Toni Colette in it  From Connie and Carla, Muriel’s Wedding and some others I canna remember.  I love Toni Colette as an actress.

So in spite of the saccharine superficial slick like a streak of lip-gloss liberally applied all over it: I was gonna stick with Hostages.  I was waiting for Toni Colette.

Slightly amusing though it should not be, since this was all meant to be deadly serious and severely macho: was the appearance right from the beginning of stone faced very handsome man from the deeply dippy series Undercover Blue.  Or some name like that.

 In which this terribly blank faced man with brown hair lives in an impossibly cool warehouse and has a super duper secret undercover team of incredibly handsome, beautiful stylish folk who did incredibly dangerous and deep undercover missions.  To flush out the really bad guys.

A lot of Undercover Blue happened at night and was ever so stylishly lit.  Of course.  Incredibly handsome man was always glum of face and at night would sit and drink whiskey from a cut glass tumbler in his warehouse and mourn his own personal tragedy.  Dead or ex-wife of course.

Anyway.  Point is.  Here in Hostages his character is called Duncan Carlisle and he maintains the same Easter Island statue stillness of face.  He just never cracks  Boy is Duncan tough. Boy is he hard.  Duncan is like, well hard and he is FBI.

Which makes what follows a mite confusing to say the least.  Oh but wait, Duncan has the de rigeur for (single) Dads now in dramas, a cutesy adorable daughter and a wife in Hospital on Chemotherapy.  Not looking too good.

Meanwhile Toni Colette is a surgeon and giving a press conference about her forthcoming operation the next day on none other than the President of the USA himself.

Toni Collette has unfortunately, I feel, fallen victim to the Botox freezathon.  However her eyes still move.

All is wonderful so far.  Hubby on the phone, confusingly is a be-suited Estate Agent but then appears in his son’s school Soccer game as a Coach.

The President is seen at home with his ever so nice wife and he seems very nice too.  Toni is going home early to cook dinner.  The kids and hubby have unseen problems however and we already clocked the probable dalliances of dear hubby.

Still, they are all home in the nice big grey and white house with perfectly appointed ornaments every 6″ and even a big golden dog called Barney.

Then things start happening that are most unexpected.  yet even in the midst of what is meant to be horror most horrid there remains a steady slurp of smaltzch.  Like someone drinking steadily form a sickly sweet Slush Puppy throughout.

Oh well.  I shall fix my dramatic hopes on Toni Colette.  Whose brief and rebellious glance to camera, directed at her home and the inhabitants now in it; was fiercesome and strong.

This is going to be a battle.  It is on its way.  Well, before they all start officially psychoanalysing and empathising with each other. No doubt.

Hostages Episodes 2 & 3

Well what did I say?  Before you know it the kidnappers are getting involved in the official personal problems of the family.  Then of course, mostly solving those problems.  Because being heroic anti-heroes they are just so much better with more skills than Mom and Dad and 2.2 kids.

Toni Collette just swans around barely breaking a sweat considering her whole family is being held hostage first physically and then technologically, with an unfortunately frozen face and super perfect hair.  presumably she changes into flat white theatre shoes and comfy trousers for surgery  since a fabulous black dress and high heels would seem impractical indeed.

Luckily Toni Colette can act with her eyes.  The kids are mostly lumpen and unconvincing.  The baddie kidnappers are stock stereotypes right down to the so-called sympathetic one and the ex-Afghanistan/Security veterans.

Plus there is the de rigeur side helping of smatlch with Daddy and daughter and sick wife in hospital.  Meaning we are meant to feel sympathy with main character Duncan Carlisle or woodenface.  Duncan Carlisle’s odd father/father-in law baby sits and moonlights as evil plotter behind the inexplicable plan.

Probably something to do with healthcare reforms affecting the sick wife although it is hard to care.  Such a probability does seem unlikely: that the oh so cool and down with the peeps and ever so jolly nice President would be doing anything to compromise the healthcare plan of woodenface’s wife in hospital.
However ours is not to reason why.

Pretty much everybody in Hostages is unconvincing as their character in the drama right down to the husband of Toni Collette being married to her.

Possibly only slimy White House Aide is believable.  But confusingly Toni Collette does not recognise him as the same man who politely reveals himself to be on the kidnapper’s side when Toni first meets the all knowing and all seeing Secret Service investigator.  Unless it is me and they were really two different men.

It all seems hugely unlikely and I notice that the delightful dog, Barney, from the first episode has now completely disappeared.

Plus the ornaments in the giant grey family house, as previously described, tiresomely and un-artistically overcrowded at a point of some inches apart on every available shelf or surface are really rather hideous up close.  i was distracted by the unforgivable sight of multiple spots on an otherwise unblemished blue glass vase.

Things really are rather pedestrian when you are noticing such stuff.

Still, in spite of all this, I am really quite enjoying Hostages.  It bundles along inexorably and Toni Collette really eclipses everybody else on screen. & Duncan Carlisle is a lovely Scottish name.  Not sure if I would still be achieving perfectly groomed hair in such a situation.  But Toni has.  Go Toni.

Nb. A special mention must go to Mary Mastroani as the President’s wife who manages to look as if she suspects the entire plot with just one perspicacious glance at Toni: whilst relating to the surgeon the history of Garfield, an assassinated President..


According to my information, Hostages only runs for one season and is to be followed by the Israeli original series- Yey!

The Israeli series is in Hebrew with English subtitles, entitled Hostages and is called Bei Aruba in Hebrew.
This will be on Channel 4 in the UK or Channel number 104 on Virgin TV

Readers of my Blog may know how much I liked Hatifum, Prisoners Of War, the original Israeli series upon which Homeland was based.  Sadly Season 2 of Hatifum is not available in the UK.  I wrote reams on Hatifum, too much to put all of it up.  There are two posting here-prequel to Hatifum and Hatifum.

Nb. Correction:
It seems i have been spelling Hatifum wrong-the correct spelling is Hatufim.

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