NBC's American Odyssey: Will You Continue on Odelle's Journey?

American Odyssey Review Rating

NBC launched Anna Friel on an American Odyssey this Sunday night — will you keep tagging along for the ride?

The midseason drama stars Friel (Pushing Daisies) as Sergeant Odelle Ballard, an American soldier who, in the midst of an unplanned takedown of Al Qaeda’s top commander, stumbles across enormously volatile intel — the transfer of $30 million from the American company “SOC” to a terrorist cell. Soon afterwards, private military contractors, OSELA, arrive to take out Odelle’s entire unit, though she secretly survives, the only witness to the massacre.

One ray of light in this dark scenario: Just before being captured by a local Mali tribe, Odelle sends off an email to Colonel Stephen Glen, revealing that she is alive. She then is locked up by her captors, but earns sympathy from the young man, Aslam, assigned to guard her, after she helps treat his friend’s burns. When OSELA then attacks the village, Aslam whisks Odelle away. After Odelle threatens to rat out Aslam to Ansar Dine (a militant Islamist group) if he leaves her behind, he agrees to bring her along, disguised as a man, on his tribe’s trek to Timbuktu.

But first, Odelle is allowed one call home, and for some reason she choose her house land line (because it’s 1998?), but it’s being watched/intercepted. Aslam then does Odelle another solid, by sending a picture of her to Al Jazeera, for instant, global dissemination.

Back in New York, U.S. Attorney-turned-corporate litigator Peter Decker (Nurse Jackie‘s Peter Facinelli) and activist/trust fund kid Harrison Walters (Jake Robinson, The Carrie Diaries) get pulled into the deadly conspiracy in their own ways.

Decker, while working on a merger involving the shifty “SOC” aka Societele Mining, discovers that they paid off a drone pilot named Gentry — who then labored to decline the payment. After Decker pays a visit to (and is quickly turned away by) Gentry, a goon spooks the guy’s family. Gentry then summons Decker back and admits that he was tasked to send armed drones to Mali — in and of itself an unusual request — and to fire on American soldiers. Alas, en route to give a deposition, Gentry is the target of a hit-and-run.

Meanwhile, at a G8 summit protest, Harrison meets Bob Offer, a hyper hacker who finds proof of the email Odelle sent to Colonel Glen — ‘cept Bob mysteriously goes missing at episode’s end, just as word spread that Ballard is alive, though the military spins the photo as propaganda.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Drew says:

    I lasted 20 minutes… And I rarely turn things off halfway through. It was like the show was written by a 1960’s hippie reject who never came down from his acid trip. It was filled with every thoughtless political cliche from this century, without any care put into making sense of any of it. I could tell how every scene was going to play out just by the cliche that they were riffing at that particular moment.
    I’ve seen deeper puddles.

    • traciwon says:

      U missed out. Its none of those things.

      • Drew says:

        I didn’t miss out. I gave it a chance. It was horrible. It wasn’t even a good version of the used up cliches that it was rehashing.

      • Me says:

        It didn’t jibe with his preconceived notions about the power of corporations and what our government is capable of, so he went back to Fox News, that’s all.

        • Drew says:

          Don’t you mean Faux News? Isn’t that what your overlords tell you to call it?
          Seriously, why are you being so irrational? I’ve clearly stated that there are other shows with politics that I disagree with, but I still enjoy the shows. I even gave an example. So what you’re doing here is avoiding actually discussing the show or what it depicts by going reading from your copy of “Political Jabs For All Occasions : Wonderfully Vague Barbs to Throw at Smarter People In An Effort To Look More Intelligent Yourself — Volume 3”

        • Lucifer says:

          I love how so many people point out Fox News is owned by a corporation, but seem to forget every news outlet is. Even this very site is owned by a corporation.

          • Isobel says:

            Good point

          • KevyB says:

            Yes, but technically Fox News isn’t a corporation in and of itself. It’s part of one. Plus, nobody pointed out that Fox was owned by a corporation. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen or heard anybody say “Fox News is owned by a corporation!” Cuz duh! And, really, what does that non-sentence prove one way or the other? Corporations are not inherently evil, some are just made evil.

          • Lucifer says:

            @KevyB, I didn’t say FOX News is a corporation, I said it was owned by one. I have heard plenty of people claim that Fox News was evil because it is owned by a corporation, even Russell Brand said something along those lines. Many people don’t understand that pretty much everything is owned by a corporation and many of those same people think corporations are inherently evil.

    • guest says:

      The show would have been filled with a lot more cool music, a lot less blood and more rainbowy special effects if the writers were on an acid trip. Just sayin.

      • Drew says:

        Finally, a valid response to what I said. I’ll take it!
        And agree. So I retract that part of what I said. :-)

    • snowdenforpresident says:


      You don’t know what the **** you are talking about. This is a tv show, set in a made up tv world with bits and pieces from our world and nothing more… more importantly you yourself, based on your comments, have been preconditioned to believe and follow as you later mention certain “narratives”… don’t get upset when those get pointed out by some tv show…

      In the future when you desire to comment, why don’t you remove your head from you anus and first watch the episode/show the entire way through…

      • Lucifer says:

        It appears your head was still in your anus when you made this comment as it makes little sense.

      • Drew says:

        What narratives am I conditioned to follow? Please enlighten me.
        The series is incredibly fictional, I agree. But when you use real world issues and real world politics to drive your story, you’d better put some thought into it. We aren’t talking about Cylons or the Borg here… Actually, BSG handled issues with far more intelligence. Nope, I didn’t always agree with the politics of that show either, but it at least it was well done.

  2. JBC says:

    I thought it was good. Action packed. Glad for your recap because of all the intro of characters and scenarios. Good acting in this as well.

  3. danyelle says:

    Really enjoyed it. People (like ahem above) will obviously drag their own politics into here, but as just , you know, a TV show, I was highly entertained.

    • Drew says:

      It isn’t about my politics. It is about believability. The writers dragged their own politics into it and chose to rehash every other story we have seen over the past 15 years because they believe the narrative more than they care about reality. Good stories don’t have to follow my politics… It just has to have some effort and care put into it. There are plenty of shows that I roll my eyes at but still enjoy. This was lazy and sloppy work. Simple as that.

      • dman6015 says:

        Touchy, aren’t we, Drew?

        “…written by a 1960’s hippie reject who never came down from his acid trip.” Didn’t get that impression at all. We’re you specifically referring to the numerous Occupy protest scenes?

        • Errol says:

          lol have you met Drew? (assuming its the same Drew that’s always grumbling on this sight. maybe not.)

        • Drew says:

          I am referring to the blind, unintelligent spewing of political talking points as opposed to intelligent exploration of real world themes. It was all hollow trash.
          “House of Cards” is filled with characters that I strongly disagree with on issues, yet it manages to present an intelligent spectrum of those political ideas, using unique characters. I hate the politics, but the show is still really good.
          This show was cotton candy. Maybe it is more entertaining if you don’t actually pay attention to what is going on around the world and in politics. Maybe it is all exciting and new in that situation. But if I can tell you how each scene is going to play out in a series that I never saw before, something isn’t right there.

  4. Beth says:

    Not for me at all

  5. DJ says:

    Wasn’t too bad – not great. The big negative for me is it’s a soap opera without ever having resolution. I’ll not be chained to my TV so it’s goodbye at this location.

  6. Mr. Tran K says:

    I give it an A. Anna Friel delivers a powerful Emmy worthy performance.

  7. MP says:

    I thought it was just OK, but I try to give new shows a few episodes to catch on before I decide to keep or cut. Does anyone know how many episodes this show will be?

  8. traciwon says:

    I thought it would be allegiance but this joint is very interesting. The layered cover up n the american mercenaries chasing her to kill her. Glad I dvr’d it. Will continue.

  9. Larry says:

    Action packed is a poor excuse to keep watching this political motivated program. The message is negative and good acting will not keep me watching.

  10. Glenn says:

    Saw the previews and said I’ll give it a shot. Was immediately hooked oddly especially through the side characters; Bob the crazy genius hacker, Harrison and his smart girlfriend, and the guessing of the main

  11. Elaine Sweet says:

    I watched Homeland and hated what they did to Brodie, a Marine. If they do the same thing to Odelle, I will never watch anything by these writers ever again.

    • johnhelvete says:

      Not fair to the writers of American Odyssey since they had nothing to do with Homeland, though they probably wished they could have come up with something half as good as season 1 Homeland.

    • dman6015 says:

      Brody went over to the dark side in his 8 years of captivity. He deserved to die.

  12. Lisa says:

    Love love love can’t wait til next week!

  13. AW says:

    The pilot was okay. I’m going to read the weekly recaps going forward and then see the last episode instead.

  14. ginger says:

    I am hooked on this show. It’s intelligent and very believable. It keeps me on the edge of my seat and I look forward to seeing how our heroine gets home & what happens to the corporation and its thugs. I hope NBC keeps it going.

  15. KevyB says:

    If a show gets under 80% As on this website, then I know it’s not worth watching. Under 40%? This show must be the equivalent of waterboarding!

  16. tinytears311 says:

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE THIS SERIES!!! So glad I did check this out when I did. Was able to back track and see everything. Most people won’t get how truthful this really is, too bad for them. I will definitely keep watching. Hoping it is saved.

  17. Nancy says:

    I love American Odyssey. Exciting, a lot of great info, good acting! Please complete the season. Should have been a mini-series like Dig and Turn. So do another show like this as a mini-series!

  18. Joan Brown says:

    I’m tired of great shows not continuing into a new season. Hopefully this one will. It’s a great story and presents scenarios that maybe we don’t realize could be going on. Bravo for American Odyssey!

  19. Terry says:

    One of the best shows on TV, but is it cancelled because it’s too close to the truth?