The Burning Zone

[Drama, 60 minutes]

[Nick as Philip Pagit]
Philip Pagit, charismatic leader of a strange cult in the rain forest, prays to his snake god in "The Hall of the Serpent."

This was (thankfully!) a short-lived series, running only 19 episodes. Nick was in the eighth episode of the first (and only) season.

THE BURNING ZONE is currently rerunning on the Sci-Fi Channel


The Burning Zone was an attempt to cash in on the popularity of The Hot Zone, a best-selling book about outbreaks of the Ebola virus. But while The Hot Zone was nonfiction - a book about science, if somewhat simplified and popularized - The Burning Zone is fantasy. It's about a team of virus hunters...but the viruses they find are bizarre. Like, they're sentient and talk.

There aren't even any viruses in "Hall of the Serpent"; they introduce us to Philip Pagit by having him lure off a relative of one of the series regulars. The plot of the episode is utterly ridiculous. Pagit is a sort of Jim Bakker character, a religious leader who cures people's cancer in exchange for half their worldly goods...and uses his power to force women to sleep with him. (This might have been more convincing if they'd cast an older, less attractive actor in the role. A rich, powerful young man who looks like Nick Lea is not going to have to blackmail people into sleeping with him.) Since he needs the energy of sex in order to heal, it's hard to see Pagit as being all that evil. (Let's have to choose between dying of cancer, or moving to a tropical island and living in luxury and perfect health while sleeping with Nick Lea. Ooh, tough one.)

The Burning Zone was picked as one of the "10 Worst TV Shows of 1996" by TV Guide, and if "Hall of the Serpent" is at all representative, I can see why. It's dreadful, and Nick is miscast in it. But he does look very nice in that robe. You can even catch a brief glimpse of his legs...

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