Review of “The Lost Symbol”: Dan Brown’s novel Fizzles in Peacock Series

“The Lost Symbol” looks like something you would watch on Saturday morning cable when the remote is lost.

It’s been five years since audiences last saw Dan Brown’s character Robert Langdon in the 2016 feature film “Inferno” and it honestly feels like a moment that can’t be recreated. It is difficult to describe the events of 2003 to someone who did not rush feverishly to read Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code”, one of the most popular books of the time, also beloved and lambasted for. his claims that Jesus was married and had children. The eventual adaptation in 2006, starring Tom Hanks, didn’t have as much controversy as the novel, but it was very successful.

Now, however, it’s hard to remember what it was. Given the landscape of books and TV, it’s hard not to feel like a TV series dedicated to Brown’s character is coming a few years past its expiration date. Worse yet, Brown’s novel “The Lost Symbol” was originally slated to be Hanks’ third feature film before the switch to “Inferno.” This change might tell us something about the source material we are watching.

Based on the three episodes already sent to press, it’s not clear if “The Lost Symbol” acts in unison with any of the previous features, although it does work as a prequel despite the original novel taking place afterwards. “The Da Vinci Code”. Here Robert Langdon (Ashley Zukerman) is a symbology teacher who teaches his class how some of these ancient symbols can be co-opted for nefarious purposes. In the first episode, we are treated to a PowerPoint presentation showing how swastikas were recycled by the Nazis and the alt-right. Hope these kids didn’t pay a ton for this class.

His mentor’s assistant Peter Solomon (Eddie Izzard) asked him to come to Washington DC to deliver a speech. But when he arrives, Langdon discovers that there is no speech and that it is all a ruse: Peter has in fact been kidnapped by a shadow who wants Langdon to help him. What this character wants help with is something the first three episodes never properly contextualize. Brown’s novels, while very readable, are steeped in wordy stories, typically revolving around Freemasons. Hearing the actors give Brown’s Word Show is like hearing another language which is often difficult to analyze.

“Dan Brown’s Lost Symbol”

David Lee / Peacock

Basically everyone is looking for the top of a pyramid that opens some sort of portal (I think?) That gives the wearer unlimited cosmic power (maybe?). With so many exhibits and so much still waiting to be deciphered, these first episodes of “The Lost Symbol” feel incredibly aimless, almost as if the plot is tweaked as the going goes.

Running alongside the Pyramid Pursuit is an added backstory after Peter’s family and his fractured relationship with his son, Zachary (Keenan Jolliff), who spent time in a Turkish prison. It remains to be seen how this all connects with a man covered in head-to-toe tattoos (a Dan Brown staple), but Izzard is certainly up for anything, including one special big surprise in the pilot. The rest of the cast are mired in standard TV movie poses, staring worriedly at the camera as serious music echoes in the background.

Robert Langdon is not a character you would call charismatic, no matter how hard Tom Hanks tries. The character does pretty much the same in the hands of Zukerman, who usually has one mode throughout these early episodes: he passes on the bookishness of Langdon, but that’s about it. The addition of a romantic interest in Katherine Solomon (Valorie Curry) fades more than flames, especially when we are told how their relationship has deteriorated; maybe it’s because he lacked chemistry to begin with.

The other characters are presented as a single note. Rick Gonzalez’s Nunez, a Guardian of the Capital Rotunda drawn into the mystery, looks more like a comedic relief (or the closest thing to an audience avatar), endlessly wondering if Langdon is serious about this. he says. Sumalee Montano is the determined FBI agent with her own reasons for finding Solomon. Even the assassins on this show are bland yet menacing faces whose names seemingly aren’t worth knowing after three episodes.

“The Lost Symbol” sounds like something you’d watch on Saturday morning cable when the remote is lost, although Peacock may also hope to secure fans of the “Librarians” franchise. “The Lost Symbol” never sounds as adventurous and ambitious as its source material, and maybe that’s because the whole thing seems five years too late.

Rating: D

The first episode of “Dan Brown’s Lost Symbol” is now available to stream on Peacock. New episodes will air every Thursday.

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