Review: Crusoe – Series Premiere on NBC

Get Crusoe Episodes via Amazon Video On DemandShow: Crusoe (NBC)
Episode: “Rum and Gunpowder” – Series Premiere (Season 1)
Premiere Date: Friday, October 17th, 2008
Rating: 3.0 out of 4 Stars

Quick Synopsis: The 17 century adventures of a guy stuck on an island.

Long Synopsis: A man is the only survivor of a shipwreck. He uses the wreckage and other things from the island he is on to build a home full of ingenious inventions up in a tree. He lives there with his native friend, who he saved from being executed by his fellow tribesmen. Adventure ensues when a small group of pirates come ashore to search for buried treasure. The pirates want him to help navigate the island and he must use his wits and the help of his friend to survive the encounter.

Review: Crusoe is actually a lot of fun and full of adventure. But, at its heart, it’s a love story, one about a man that longs to get back to his former life and family.

Relative newcomer Philip Winchester plays Robinson Crusoe and he does a fine job in the role. The character is the original MacGyver, creating nifty gadgets out of what he has scavenged from the shipwreck and the island.

Other notable cast members include Sam Neill (The Tudors), as Jeremiah Blackthorn, Joaquim de Almeida (Wanted, 24), as General Santana, and Sean Bean (National Treasure, The Lord of the Rings: Trilogy), as Crusoe’s father. Neill appears to be the only one of these three that is in all 13 episodes.

It is beautifully shot on location in South Africa. The scenery is part of the reason it is worth watching. But, there is more than a gorgeous backdrop, cool gadgets, and fun lively action, there is an interesting story being told.

This story is told in flashbacks, where you learn of Crusoe’s life before becoming marooned on the island. These will continue until his complete story both then and now is told.

One kind of funny thing about the show, and I suppose the book it is based on, is this deserted island turns out to be one of the most highly trafficked places around. But, never by anyone that he can hitch a ride with back home.

Such is the case in the first two hours, as he has to deal with pirates and the Spanish navy that is after them. Neither of which he can get a ride with. I’m not really giving anything away here, because if he got off the island, the show would be over.

Overall, Crusoe is worth checking out and probably the best bet in the second hour of primetime. Although, I really like Law & Order: Criminal Intent on USA and look forward to seeing how they utilize Jeff Goldblum. The other cable competitor is Stargate Atlantis on Sci Fi. The network competition consists of Supernanny on ABC, The Ex List on CBS, an encore of America’s Next Top Model on The CW, and Don’t Forget the Lyrics! on FOX. I really enjoyed this first two hours and will be back again next week.

Crusoe premieres tonight, Friday, October 17th on NBC. If you watch tonight, I’d like to hear your thoughts on the series.

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Jason the TVaholic
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