Grotesque violence and sadistic situations await those who might be interested in sampling “Hunters” based primarily on the advertising and promotion for the show that emphasizes the presence of Al Pacino.
He plays a wealthy, socially connected man in New York City who just happens to be Jewish and bent on taking revenge against Nazis guilty of heinous war crimes who have long lived in freedom in America.
The time frame for this show, premiering on Amazon Prime Video on Friday (Feb. 21), is 1977. The show posits that fanatical ex-Nazis are living all over the United States, including New York City where an elderly Auschwitz survivor has recently recognized one of her torturers from more than 30 years ago in a Brooklyn grocery store.
So, she becomes involved in the amateur pastime of Nazi-hunting, along with the Pacino character, one Meyer Offerman, who is also a holocaust survivor.
Through a series of events that it is not our right to reveal, this Jewish granny's grandson, Jonah (played by Logan Lerman, pictured above with Pacino) also joins the fight.
And that is the broad outline of the show. But here's the thing: Be prepared for scenes that will make you squirm, and possibly make you look away completely.
Inducing this kind of behavior in a viewer of a TV show has always seemed to me to be counterintuitive, since the point of presenting a television show would seem to be to attract, not repel, viewership.
I suppose reactions to the material on view in “Hunters” (at least in the 90-minute premiere episode the TV Blog previewed this week) will depend on individual tastes.
Among the activities seen in the premiere of “Hunters” is a backyard massacre, a deadly chess game played with real people, a man used as a human dartboard and other such scenes created for our entertainment.While the overall story presented in “Hunters” is a good one that is compelling enough to drive viewing to subsequent episodes, I was also tempted many times while watching the premiere to condemn the show completely for its reliance on sadism that is extreme even by today's standards for TV violence. Basically, there aren’t any -- standards, I mean.
As for Pacino, he takes to his role with his usual relish, in this case adopting an accent combining European and New York vocal patterns that the makers of TV shows and movies think is “Jewish.”
Some of the “Jewishness” of the characters plays unfortunately like stereotypes, however, such as the Jewish grandmother's insistence that her grandson eat his chicken soup. Really? Chicken soup?
On the other hand, how can you knock a show about Nazi hunters? Perhaps the lesson here is: Revenge is a dish best served cold. But chicken soup? Not so much.
“Hunters” starts Friday (Feb. 21) on Amazon Prime Video.