If “Inglourious Basterds” and “Watchmen” had a baby, it would be something like the TV-MA show, “Hunters,” which leaves the realm of reality and enters a comic book-like world.
The series begins with the interesting concept of a colorful group of Nazi hunters living in New York City, who are seeking out revenge and justice in the late 1970s.
Jonah Heidelbaum, played by Logan Lerman, meets the wealthy leader of the group, Meyer Offerman, played by Al Pacino, and joins for his own revenge. The story progresses as they begin “the hunt.”
While it has a strong concept, the show has two major problems it needs to sort out in order to become successful. In relation to one another, its level of grotesqueness and its tone contribute to the plot’s issues.
By no means did I think this was going to be a feel-good and happy show. It isn’t meant to be. However, gruesome scene after gruesome scene becomes stale and unenjoyable.
The same can be said for its dialogue, with the same four letter expletives used again and again. Good television writing takes more effort than that.
The show relies heavily on shock value, something that should be used sparingly. At some point, I have to roll my eyes and say, “enough.”
“Hunters” shines in the most human scenes where it allows the personalities of the characters to show through. There are some spectacular and memorable scenes, but there are some that could be done without.
There are unique characters with interesting backstories such as Vietnam War veteran Joe Mizushima, played by Louis Ozawa Changchien, and self-absorbed actor Lonny Flash, played by Josh Radnor.
The acting is exceptional, even if the writing is mediocre at times. Al Pacino fully commits to his role as a Jewish Holocaust survivor and is very convincing.
The show’s effort to be different is appreciated, but something about the tone is flawed and doesn’t necessarily work. Scenes including unusual sing-song bits and variety show segments don’t mesh well with the dark flashbacks of the concentration camps.
Some of these flashbacks are horrible, yet powerful, scenes that stir up a lot of emotion. Unfortunately, they are then followed up with the wacky and violent antics of the group.
“Hunters” makes an attempt at being lighthearted and witty while still trying to horrify the viewer. Dark comedy is fantastic when it works well, but here it feels like two completely different shows.
If you’re looking for a show to binge watch, I recommend watching something else. However, “Hunters” currently has only one season with 10 episodes, so it won’t take up too much of your time if you decide to watch it.