April 09, 2020

‘The Nine,’ 10 p.m. ABC

Good news, TV viewers. Network executives have officially decided that you have an attention span that can exceed one hour.

How else to explain this fall’s spate of serials, a form which had almost disappeared from the network landscape in recent years? (And yet, on reality shows, viewers were expected to remember who had previously stabbed whom in the back. Go figure.)

Anyway, amid the hoopla of the “Lost” premiere last Wednesday, the new show after it on ABC, “The Nine,” got kind of, well, lost. Which is too bad.

“The Nine” tells the story of nine people who get caught up in a 52-hour hostage situation after a botched bank robbery.

Last week’s first episode showed how the robbery started, and how the standoff ended. It also explored, to a degree, the event’s impact on the nine hostages who walked away afterward.

So here’s what “The Nine” is about: what happened during those 52 hours, and how the experience affects the former hostages.

From executive producer Hank Steinberg (“Without a Trace”), “The Nine” is a character study first and foremost, although there’s plenty of mystery about what happened inside the bank.

With its regular flashbacks, “The Nine” isn’t for those who like their storytelling straightforward and linear. It’s probably asking a lot from viewers, who wouldn’t embrace the equally dense “Invasion” last season. Maybe there’s only room for one complicated serial on Wednesday night. But maybe, just maybe, the viewing public might be willing to stretch a little bit for the intriguing “The Nine.”

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