Marketing-driven constructs are often the kiss of death creatively speaking, but the commercial template surrounding Hub’s miniseries based on “Clue” — consisting of five half-hour segments — is clever enough to overcome such concerns. The story is largely a serviceable excuse to push a Hardy Boys-style mystery, with a half-dozen teens playing the junior sleuths, as loosely based on the board game. Ultimately, it’s really just a live-action feature divvied into small slices with a recognizable brand name, but the packaging ought to bring attention to the fledgling kids network.
Although the title produced a not-very-memorable 1985 movie, “Clue” probably doesn’t mean more to the target audience than “Col. Mustard in the library with a candlestick.”
Faced with the task of turning that into a movie — one skewed to the prepubescent set, no less — writer-producer Raven Metzner has gone with a rather simple conceit: A half-dozen teens are at a hotel that’s hosting a charity gala when they simultaneously witness an apparent murder: a man fending off two attackers before they whack him with (yes) a candlestick.
The police, however, find no trace of the incident, prompting the youths to initiate their own investigation. And the game, as they say, is afoot.
More interesting than the story, frankly, is Hub’s integrated approach, which includes spreading the case over a week, augmenting the TV platform with an online crime-solving component and even a call-in-and-win game, under the obvious theme “Get a Clue.”
In short, Hub is replicating some of the old razzle-dazzle of local kids’ TV, for better and worse, around a production that ought to possess some multigenerational appeal.
There’s little doubt the project amounts to putting the cart before the horse, in a sense. But for a cable network intent on getting the most it can out of limited resources, Hub has taken a modest little TV movie and turned it into a weeklong event.
That might be a lot of things, but in terms of calculated gambits to garner attention, it definitely isn’t “Clue”-less.