Yes, it’s time for “Young Adult series of the week”, such is the apparent frequency of such shows.
This time round, the title refers to a game played by graduating seniors where the winner will scoop $50,000. There are various challenges, some of which are quite scary, though, including one where you get put in a coffin overnight. If you survive the night, you’ll win. You’ll be fine as long as you follow one rule: Don’t Panic. (and don’t mess your trousers, presumably, too).
Note that not everyone will survive… So, it’s a bit like I’m A Celebrity, but the way it should be, since there’s a number of Z-listers who no-one would miss.
Of course, the premise takes me back to my graduation ceremony from about 300 years ago, but once Uni was over, I went home and back to my summer job while I figured out what to do next… and I’m still figuring that out. However, I didn’t do anything outlandishly daft at the culmination of my education, other than drink a lot.
But back to the plot, and at this time of year, since it’s an open secret, the police are aware of it, but when and where the games take place is like Fight Club – you don’t talk about it.
Focusing on some of the key cast members and what leads to them taking part, Heather’s (Olivia Welch) hiding money earned from her mum who’d happily steal it, but she’s just lost her job and is in need of another, but another situation will put her in a fiduciary quandry which will lead to her signing up. Another is “new guy” Dodge (Mike Faist), so-called because he was new in his final year… which was a year ago… so, not new anymore, but given what a meathead the class wanker (Ray Nicholson) is – who’s basically Nelson Muntz in human form, he still teases him about it.
The only thing I’ll say about the challenges is that the first one involves tombstoning, i.e. jumping from a high point into the lake – which is dangerous enough, while the second one involves heights… and I had to watch that one through my fingers!
However, while Panic builds the right tension when the challenges are being shown, it’s so slow outside of that. There’s so much inconsequential dialogue – such as with Heather trying to get a job for the summer, which I really didn’t care about. Also, some of these 18-year-old characters are portrayed by actors who are pushing 30…
I’ll check out more if I find out it actually gets moving any quicker, but so far, this is too slow for me… or, I might just skip the story, put the Panic games on, and play the It’s A Knockout music in the background!
All that said, it’s nice to see Bonnie Bedelia pop up again, this time as Anne McCarthy. If the name rings a bell, she played Bruce Willis’ wife, Holly, in the first two Die Hard films. Although, at one point, McClane is talking to Holly on the phone in the third film – and leaving her shouting “John? John”, as he abandons the call to go after Jeremy Irons – it wasn’t her voice. Even IMDB doesn’t list who the voice belonged to, so it could’ve been the tea lady.
Panic streams today on Amazon Prime, but is not yet available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD. All episodes are available on demand from today.
Episodes 1 and 2 Score: 4/10
Series Directors: Megan Griffiths, Gandja Monteiro, Viet Nguyen, Ry Russo-Young, Jamie Travis, Leigh Janiak
Producers: Joe Roth, Ginger Sledge
Creator/Novelist/Writer: Lauren Oliver
Music: Brian H Kim, Isabella Summers
Heather Nill: Olivia Welch
Dodge Mason: Mike Faist
Ray Hall: Ray Nicholson
Bishop Moore: Camron Jones
Sheriff James ‘Jimmy’ Cortez: Enrique Murciano
Capt. John Williams: Todd Williams
Sgt. Christine Langley: Lee Eddy
Diggins: David W Thompson
Natalie Williams: Jessica Sula
Summer Calvo: Leslie Ann Leal
Lily Nill: Kariana Karhu
Shawna Kenny: Tatiana Roberts
Jose: Om Patel
Tyler Young: Jordan Elsass
Drew Santiago: Cosme Flores
Sarah Miller: Maya Hendricks
Sam: Erin Ryan
Anne McCarthy: Bonnie Bedelia
Troy Van: Stephen Dinh
Hunt Kenny: Nasir Villanueva
Melanie Cortez: Moira Kelly
Leela Agerwal: Sharmita Bhattacharya
Sherri Nill: Rachel Bay Jones
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.