Kiefer Sutherland has been laying low since the gravy bowl of torture and screaming, better known as 24 to most people, slowly dried up in 2010. Fox’s mercy killing of its once buzzed about and beloved franchise allowed the show’s star to take a deep breath and pursue other projects. And instead of fully jumping into movies or another television show, Sutherland decided to spearhead his own show, The Confession, which will forever be known as Hulu’s first high-profile original production.
It’s no surprise that if online video services like Hulu and Netflix want to survive going forward they are going to have to rely on a business model where their content offerings are split between original material and stuff people could find elsewhere on the web. Hollywood studios have a vested interest in preventing the darlings of content streaming from becoming too popular, and to do that they have to withhold the supply of their content.
Which is why Netflix backed a money truck into the driveway for House of Cards and why Hulu gave the green light to a proven star like Sutherland.
For those that miss Sutherland running around shooting terrorists and yelling with his grizzly voice, there will be a lot to enjoy from The Confession. Each of the 10 episodes, which are only five to seven minutes in length, feature the actor as a hitman who has a theological discussion with a priest (the stately John Hurt) about why his victims deserved to die.
The story plays out in action-packed flashbacks. The budget here is surprisingly high for something that hasn’t been getting too much press or generating the type of buzz one would expect from Hulu’s stab at original content. To date, only three of the ten episodes have premiered and it feels like Hulu is merely dipping their toes into the water instead of diving in.
Sure, The Confession is solid entertainment — much different than the usual comedy-based web stuff — but it also feels like something to wait and watch when there’s a few minutes to kill or when there is absolutely nothing else on. As interesting as this drama is, it feels like a fling. Like Kiefer had a few days to kills and wanted to help out on a friend’s project. It doesn’t feel … well, necessary.
Maybe the investment is too high, but this project would be much more exciting if each episode were a 30-minute drama.