Tuesday, July 14, 2009

"It's not a show. It's a mission."

Alarmed by the news that Leon Panetta is suspending Cheney's secret assassination program (the one that would replace drones piloted from trailers in South Florida with actual, 007-style agents)? Don't worry: starting Monday, NBC will be hunting terrorists in a new reality show: "THE WANTED." The show teams a 60 Minutes producer (who also worked as a lawyer for the CIA), a former NAVY SEAL, a former Green Beret, a reporter and a war crimes prosecutor to hunt terrorists alive and well and living among us.

Like a cross between "To Catch a Predator," the NBC Dateline series that confronted accused sex offenders on live TV, and Jack Bauer's "24." Bringing the mainstream media's commercial exploitation of geopolitical fear and internecine xenophobia to entirely new, PKDickian levels. The preview, linked above, is a masterpiece of unintentional self-parody. Simultaneously so hilarious and so horrifying that I fear my Zeitgeist irony governor may now be permanently damaged.


NBC has called “The Wanted” a “groundbreaking television event” that would show an elite team of investigators pursuing accused criminals living in the open and avoiding justice. An online promotion for the program suggests that it will have cinematic qualities, including sweeping shots from helicopters and a command center for the team. In a mostly low-rated season of summer programming, the ratings for “The Wanted” will be closely watched after it has its premiere on Monday at 10 p.m. Eastern time. A second episode is scheduled one week later; four more episodes have been filmed.

“The truth is the real weapon in this redefining news series that follows a Navy Seal, a Green Beret and a dedicated reporter as they hunt down war criminals and terrorists from around the world,” the production company, Echo Ops, says in its promotional materials.

File under truth is stranger than satire. You can bet I have already set the timer on my DVR.

HD version of the preview here.

I anxiously await the series finale, in which our heroes travel to Argentina and abduct Dick Cheney while he is off fly-fishing, protected by his coterie of secret service agents chosen for their resemblance to famous action heroes of the 70s and 80s. The Portage to San Antonio of R.C.?

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