TV Review: ‘National Treasure: Edge Of History’ Season 1, Episode 2

by Frank Martin

The National Treasure movies had a pretty unique tone. They were fun-filled family adventures, but they never felt too contrived or pandering to younger audiences. They were films that, although pretty light in terms of action and suspense, still had the capability to hold the attention of both adults and children. The spinoff show, National Treasure: Edge of History, fails to achieve that same ‘just right’ balance. There are certainly stakes as characters are threatened with death, but it feels more geared towards a younger crowd. It’s not just that the protagonists are younger, either. The dialogue and plot developments are too simplistic, which appeals more for kids than the adults that would have enjoyed the originals.

This story picks up where the first episode left off. Billie (Catherine Zeta-Jones) still has Oren (Antonio Cipriano) and is negotiating with Jess (Lisette Olivera) to exchange her friend for the box. Before they do, though, Jess manages to open the box and see that it’s part of a treasure map. She tries to place a keychain inside the box to get Billie in trouble. The plan fails as they underestimated Billie’s resourcefulness, so Jess takes stopping her into her own hands. But Billie sees that Jess opened the box and realizes the girl is more capable than she seems. The episode ends on another cliffhanger as Liam (Jake Austin Walker) helps Jess open a secret chamber in his grandfather’s study filled with treasure and secrets.

It’s not that the show is necessarily bad. The puzzles are fun and there appears to be action and adventure coming soon. It’s just that it’s all fairly straightforward, and without Nicolas Cage‘s wits, the childish nature of the adventure takes over. Watching the show with children definitely heightens the viewing experience, but for adults who may have enjoyed the films alone, they probably won’t appreciate the show’s younger bent.

National Treasure: Edge of History streams Wednesday on Disney+.

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