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Scott D. Pierce: Muddled ‘Intruders’ is no ‘Doctor Who’

By Scott D. Pierce

| The Salt Lake Tribune

First Published Aug 21 2014 10:33 am • Last Updated Aug 21 2014 12:05 pm

You could say that writer/producer Glen Morgan and BBC America are incredibly brave with their new series "Intruders."

You could also question whether they’ve lost their minds. Because the premiere of this show is perhaps the most obtuse hour of television you’ll see this season.

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At the end of 60 minutes, you’ll have very little idea what’s going on. And that’s by design.

"It’s based on a novel by Michael Marshall Smith, and that’s very much how the novel reads," Morgan said. "You go through three-quarters of it not kind of knowing, kind of having a sense of what might happen. And we follow that very closely."

So … you can, apparently, count on not really understanding what’s happening through six of the eight episodes that make up the first season of "Intruders," which premieres Saturday at 8 p.m. on BBC America.

On purpose. Eduardo Sanchez, who directed four of the eight episodes, was clearly proud of the show for "not telling anything that’s going on."

So … I won’t give anything away. Not that I can give away much. Except that dead people are coming back to life in a weird sort of way.

(Any way dead people come back would be weird, right?)

In the first hour, an ex-cop (John Simm) is approached by an old partner (Tory Kittles) about a murder case. The cop’s wife (Mira Sorvino) disappears.

An assassin (Richard Shepherd) kills a number of people, and he is chasing down a 9-year-old girl (Millie Brown).

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And it’s all tied to a secret society known as Qui Reverti.

BBC America is using the season premiere of "Doctor Who" (Saturday, 6:15 p.m.) and the arrival of a new Doctor (Peter Capaldi) to launch "Intruders," but the two shows could hardly be less alike. Even in its darkest episodes, there’s a sense of humor to "Doctor Who."

"Intruders" has no sense of humor whatsoever.

In order to invest in "Intruders," you have to put complete faith in Morgan. And, while he’s perhaps best known as a writer/producer of "The X-Files," his TV track record is full of shows that have turned out to be huge disappointments — "Space: Above and Beyond" (1995-96), "Millennium" (1997-98), "The Others" (2000), the "Bionic Woman" reboot (2007), "The River" (2012) and "Those Who Kill" (2014).

Based on that track record, I’d be skeptical about "Intruders" even if the first episode was great. And the first episode is sort of a muddled mess.

If you do stick around for all eight episodes of "Intruders," Morgan promised not to leave you hanging. His most recent series, "Those Who Kill" — canceled after one season because of disastrous ratings — ended on a cliffhanger that will never be resolved.

"I don’t want to do that to people again," he said.

Scott D. Pierce covers television for The Salt Lake Tribune. Email him at spierce@sltrib.com; follow him on Twitter @ScottDPierce.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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