Hey TV.com, Should I Watch Cult?

By MaryAnn Sleasman

Feb 18, 2013

Cult is The CW’s newest attempt at a mind-blowing serialized thriller (RIP, Ringer) with lots of twists and turns and dimly-lit sets, and it premieres this week. But should you watch it? I've already seen the pilot, so please—allow me to advise!

What’s Cult?

Cult is a television show that airs on The CW about Cult—a television show that airs on The CW. The fictional Cult series has become a massive hit with legions of dedicated fans, and like every large fanbase, has its share of those who take things just a mite too seriously. Or a lot too seriously. Or they aren’t crazy at all, but rather agents of a mysterious leader with ties to the TV show, which begs the question: Which came first? Did the cult spring up around the TV show or did the cult CREATE the TV show? Disgraced journalist Jeff Sefton (Matt Davis of Legally Blonde and The Vampire Diaries) tries to answer that and other questions when his little brother disappears after getting waaay too obsessed with his new favorite show. Jeff is joined by Skye Yarrow (Jessica Lucas from Cloverfield), a member of the show-within-a-show Cult’s production crew who senses her TV show isn’t JUST a TV show. Rounding out the main cast are Alona Tal (Jo from Supernatural) and Robert Knepper (Heroes, Prison Break) as the stars of the breakout series-within-a-series.

Whaaaat? Who spiked the Kool-aid?

Cult was created by Rockne S. O’Bannon who also gave us Alien Nation, seaQuest DSV, and Farscape. O’Bannon also has another series debuting this spring, Syfy’s heavily promoted (and anticipated!) Defiance (which also looks kind of cool, IMO). Busy dude! Josh Schwartz (Gossip Girl, Chuck, The Carrie Diaries) is a producer, as are Stephanie Savage (Hart of Dixie, The O.C., The Carrie Diaries) and Len Goldstein (Hart of Dixie).

When does this crazy train leave the station?

Cult premieres Tuesday, February 19 at 9pm on The CW.

Who is Cult trying to recruit?

I can’t very well say the audience of The Following since the two shows' debuts are so close that it’s doubtful either series is trying to steal the other's thunder, but if you like The Following (or at least the *idea* of The Following), you’ll probably dig Cult. You migh also enjoy the show if you liked the conspiracy and mystery in last season’s flop Ringer, but didn’t care for the ridiculous soapy elements (join the club!).

What’s good about it?

I was expecting cheesy and campy, so I was delighted that most of Cult was actually kind of creepy—especially Knepper as charismatic cult leader Billy Grimm. However, if it’s cheese that you want, there’s enough silliness to keep things from getting too dark and scary. The story itself, once you get past the initial WHERE-AM-I-WHAT-IS-HAPPENING feeling, is actually pretty tight so far, and the pilot raised just enough of the right questions that I'm excited about future episodes.

What’s not-so-good about it?

Not every mind-blowing twist is all that amazing—some of them are pretty obvious, actually. Also, I spent most of the beginning of the pilot just trying to get my bearings straight. Even with a handful of official descriptions and a trailer or two under my belt before actually tackling the pilot, I found that I was hitting rewind fairly often through the first half of the episode because what the eff is going on? Cult likes to blur the lines between the fictional Cult and the actual Cult, with mixed results. Sometimes it’s a neat artistic decision. Sometimes it’s important. But sometimes it’s just confusing. This is a series that could very quickly hang itself with its own twists if the writers aren’t mindful. Still, it’s kind of awesome. I promise. I won’t say that it all makes sense in the end but I think that it MIGHT make sense, and I think it’s possible for SOMETHING to make sense in the future, and for now, that’s good enough for me.

So... should I join Cult?

In a word, yes! If it sounds like your thing, then yes, absolutely. Come for the crazy, stay for the plot. The pilot is exciting and the writing is sharp. Billy Grimm is creepy. The show-within-a-show thing has been done before, but it’s fun, and The CW never seems to be taken seriously, so if nothing else, I’m willing to give this a chance. <3 you, C-Dubs (though I’m not sure why)!

Is there a trailer floating around somewhere so I can decide for myself?

BETTER: The whole pilot is currently available on Hulu. But here’s a trailer anyway:

What should I drink while watching Cult?

Kool-aid, of course!

Cult premieres Tuesday, February 19 at 9pm on The CW.

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  • Svanehjerte Feb 25, 2013

    It was a decent pilot and I'll keep watching this show.

  • gtbell Feb 23, 2013

    Robert Knepper is enough to make me watch Cult.

  • akyag Feb 21, 2013

    Jo, T-Bag and Alaric.. yeah I am gonna watch :)

  • akyag Feb 21, 2013

    Damn.. it was a snooze-fest for me...

  • asenova Feb 19, 2013

    This show is the worst thing I've ever seen. I can't even begin to describe. I can't believe they spend money and agree on projects like this. TV hits new low with this one. Sorry for the actors because I like each and everyone of them. They all come from great shows but in this one all is lost. I hope this show gets cancelled fast and I hope I'll see these people in great new ones.

  • BrookeDsBaby Feb 19, 2013

    I like the idea of this show but I just can't see it not being cancelled.

  • MrPukestick Feb 19, 2013

    No! Fuck this show. Watch Banshee. Watch Banshee, watch Banshee, watch Banshee, watch Banshee, watch Banshee. They haven't reviewed it, I think past the pilot and I think the less of them for it. View it for yourselves, so far 6 episodes. I promise you will not be disappointed. I'll rant no more other than WATCH BANSHEE

  • Svanehjerte Feb 25, 2013

    Banshee? That show was really awful! Terrible acting, bad script and way too much nudity to try and lure in the perves. These are the shows they really need to cancel.

  • tnetennba Feb 24, 2013

    They should totally review Banshee. It's one of the best shows right now. That being said, I absolutely hated the one detail in the most recent episode. It would have been cool if there had been a review page where I can see what others think.

  • akyag Feb 21, 2013

    Hell yeah.. BANSHEEEEEEEEEEEE !!!

  • youngnan Feb 19, 2013


  • Savvytvfan91 Feb 19, 2013

    Trailer looks pretty cool and I love Alona Tal so I might check it out.

  • ninjadent Feb 19, 2013

    The Pilot was excellent , i liked the story a lot it has the proper amount of mystery and crazy . The pace was fast and the perfomance ok . I Didn't get confused and in need of rewind , propably maryann was messing with her iPad during the show :P

  • radiumgirl Staff Feb 19, 2013

    WHO TOLD YOU??? :p

    Nah, it just took me a few to get the jumps between the fake-Cult and the real-Cult down.

  • AnaBrigovic Feb 19, 2013

    seen pilot, fun show, will watch

  • damnfo0l Feb 19, 2013

    Could not stand Robert Knepper in Heroes but I don't know if that was the character or ther actor so I'll watch the pilot and see how it goes.

  • BrookeDsBaby Feb 19, 2013

    He was amazing on Prison Break, unfortunately it seems like this character is closer to his Heroes one which is disappointing. Lets hope there's no Irish accents involved.

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