Review: The Lost Symbol’s premiere episode

September has unofficially turned into Dan Brown month here at I’ve written before about how excited I was to watch Peacock’s The Lost Symbol. Now that I’ve seen it, the show has great potential and was worth the wait. It’s not perfect, but it has promise. 

The redemption of Robert Langdon

Inferno, the last movie in the Da Vinci Code universe, is controversial among fans because of the ending. On top of that, the film doesn’t quite hit the mark. The Lost Symbol is everything Inferno isn’t. It fulfills all the promises of the mystery genre and still makes strides toward some kick-ass character development.

The pilot holds the story’s tension, layering more levels to the conspiracy. It’s a real potboiler in that sense. Viewers are left wondering who the leads can trust – and who will betray them. 

Great cast, but could use more

I’ve written previously that I was skeptical about the new Robert Langdon. Like many folks, I have a soft spot in my heart for Tom Hanks. Anything he’s in is an automatic watch for me. I’ve also noted that the trailer convinced me otherwise and that Ashley Zukerman was the right actor for the job. The first episode, “As Above, So Below,” cemented that fact. Zukerman brought a shine to a protagonist that was otherwise a bit of a know it all. 

The Lost Symbol’s pilot has two main characters – Langdon and Katherine. Valorie Curry knocks it out of the park as Katherine. She brings humanity to the role and makes us root for the character. Plus, my inner Veronica Mars fangirl is happy to see the actress on the screen again. 

There is a third prominent character, Langdon’s mentor and father figure, Prof. Solomon, played by Eddie Izzard. Much of the tension in the show is from the ticking clock surrounding what happened to Solomon. I wonder if the pilot could have benefited by adding another good-aligned character to act as an ally for the leads in their quest to discover what has happened to Prof. Solomon. 

Beautiful production design

The Lost Symbol oozes atmosphere. Although it is set in Washington, DC, it was filmed in Canada over three months. You can’t tell from watching. The setting feels authentic, and heaviness and drama are conveyed through the television. 

Lots of puzzles

If you have read a Dan Brown book or even seen the movies, you know a lot of lore is involved. Part of the fun is learning about the hidden world underpinning our civilization. The Lost Symbol doesn’t shy away from the puzzles or the lore. It dives deep into the world of conspiracies. This works for world-building; symbols are Robert Langdon’s jam. If you go into the pilot expecting it to take it easy on you because it’s TV, you’ll be disappointed. 

Slightly out of place on Peacock

Interestingly, the pilot episode feels like something that should be on network TV. The show feels very broad, and Given that NBC initially adapted it for their network, I can understand that. It may not find the audience it wants in a hyper-specialized streaming world. Starting The Lost Symbol on Peacock, where audience numbers are already limited because they’re tied to a streaming audience, isn’t a promising start. The Lost Symbol reminded me of Hannibal in many ways. Again, very network TV appropriate, and after having seen the pilot, I question the programming choice.

Looking toward the future

The next episode, mysteriously titled “The Araf,” will hopefully answer some of the questions posed by the pilot. It will air on Peacock on September 23. I know I’ll be watching. 

Have you watched The Lost Symbol? How about Inferno? Please leave a comment or message me on Twitter to join the conversation. 

Note: This post originally appeared on before the hosting went poof. Since that site no longer exists with hosting, you get to visit the archives here. Please mind the cobwebs.