TV Show Within A TV Show: Can 'Cult' Ensnare A Dedicated Following?

The CW’s new drama Cult premieres tonight (February 19, 2013) and viewers should prepare to expect the ridiculous. It’s not bad-ridiculous, it’s good-ridiculous. But it’s ridiculous, nonetheless. A TV show within a TV show, Cult is a many-layered exploration of not only its own storyline, but the influence of social media on modern audiences, too.

The season debut begins with the story of Kelly Collins (Alona Tal), whose sister Meadow (Shauna Johannesen) has gone missing. Kelly is convinced that Meadow and her husband have been lured into a cult by Billy Grimm, the messianic group leader. Just as the audience is fully enraptured by the story, though, it suddenly becomes apparent that Kelly and Meadow are merely characters within a TV show. The TV show, in Cult, is helpfully named Cult. Easy to remember, for sure, though not necessarily so easy to explain. Oh and just to make it a little more confusing? both shows are aired on the CW. Yep.

In the “real world” of the TV show Cult, Jeff Sefton (Matthew Davis) is trying hard to deal with his paranoid brother Nate (James Pizzinato). Nate is convinced that he’s being stalked by the cult, who are in the TV show. Nate also goes missing and Jeff seeks the help of someone working on the show, hoping that she can help him. It remains to be seen whether or not the gimmick of the show, which is being promoted through social media in the hope to engage geeky viewers even further in its many-layered realities, will prove a success or whether audiences will decide they’d rather just be entertained with something a little less multi-dimensional.


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