What if disease wasn’t something that was solely spread by germs and personal contact? What if it could be spread through the Internet and viral videos? (Get it? Viral?) That seems to be the basic gist of whatever the hell is going on in the dramatic quasi-thriller Hysteria, one of Amazon Studios’ entries in their third Pilot Season. I mean, you might even be getting some form of dyskinesia just from reading about Hysteria!
Let’s try to unpack this far-reaching tale one point at a time. First, there’s Mena Suvari’s Dr. Logan Harlen, a psychiatrist who, for lack of a better description, specializes in weird ass cases of people going into random seizures that no one else can explain. The episode kicks off with her talking to a mysterious imprisoned man who looks like death hailed a cab and ran over him, but I won’t ruin his identity here. I will say, though, that it’s former Grey’s Anatomy star T.R. Knight at his most unrecognizable.
Dr. Logan’s specialty is needed in Austin, Texas, where a group of teenagers are experiencing a strange phenomenon that causes them to involuntarily spasm and lose control. This all happens because a group of dance team girls head out into an abandoned building to get trashed with some guys that they met online. One girl, Audra (Ella Rae Peck), has ulterior motives of causing jealousy within an ex of hers, who just happens to be a thirtysomething cop (Josh Stewart), whose family wouldn’t be pleased to know he was banging a 17-year-old. Audra’s sister Cassie (Jenessa Grant) is the first one to go through the weird spasms, and her ordeal is recorded and eventually finds its way online.
The girls’ father Ken (Jason Douglas) works at the high school, and things get taken way out of hand once more girls start showing signs of…HYSTERIA! You’ll also see Laura San Giacomo as a police chief and James McDaniel as the head doctor in charge of the teens’ cases until Logan comes along.
There are a lot of good things going on with Hysteria, which was created by Shaun “Hardy Boy” Cassidy. While I can’t say his script was perfect, it set up quite a few story points that I’d love to see expounded upon in future episodes, should it ever get to that point. The direction from Otto Bathurst was constantly engaging, much more so than any of Amazon’s other current pilots. Plus, this was the only pilot that had a well-produced and memorable opening credit sequence. The performances…well, I didn’t find myself questioning Suvari’s doctoring abilities as much as I thought I would. So there's that.
As with the other Pilot Seasons, your duty is to watch the show here and then give it a rating at the bottom of the page. While excellent ratings don’t necessarily mean the show will get a full season, Amazon execs definitely take them into consideration. So spread the word!