National Treasure: Edge of History – Season 1

L-R: Lisette Olivera and Harvey Keitel in NATIONAL TREASURE: EDGE OF HISTORY - “Pilot” (Disney/Brian Roedel).

National Treasure: Edge of History concluded its first season with the thrills, mystery, and excitement that one expects from the franchise.

I wasn’t sure what to expect going into the spinoff series because it wouldn’t have the same magic without Nicolas Cage. The chemistry between Cage, Justin Bartha, and Diane Kruger were what drove the previous films. Jon Voight and Helen Mirren also added to the fun. What happens when you take them out of the question, focus on an entirely different cast, and expand it into a series format? Well, apparently, it opens the door to more thrills…and cliffhangers. One of the biggest disappoints in watching every episode was having to wait until the next episode! The big tie-in to the films, of course, is the return of Harvey Keitel as retired FBI agent Peter Sadusky, Justin Bartha as Riley Poole, and in a recurring role, Armando Riesco as Agent Hendricks. Without getting into specifics, the series does change the status quo for the third National Treasure film installment.

The series makes up for something that the films were lacking: diversity. They hit all of the major checkboxes with an especially diverse cast. I have no complaints here! It does make you wonder why the films never really expanded their cast with actors from different ethnicities. It really shows just how much things have changed since 2004 and 2007, respectively.

I’ll get into my overall thoughts below the photo. Spoiler alert: there will be spoilers!

National Treasure: Edge of History
L-R: Antonio Cipriano as Oren, Jake Austin Walker as Liam Sadusky, Zuri Reed as Tasha, Jordan Rodrigues as Ethan, Lisette Olivera as Jess, Catherine Zeta-Jones as Billie, and Lyndon Smith as Agent Ross in NATIONAL TREASURE: EDGE OF HISTORY (Disney/Michael Muller).

Jess Valenzuela’s (Lisette Olivera) life changes instantaneously during her first encounter with retired agent Peter Sadusky (Harvey Keitel). It’s been fifteen years since we saw Agent Sadusky on screen and he’s now battling dementia. Not long after this, he is suddenly dead. Is it natural causes or a murder? Only time will tell but FBI agent Hannah Ross (Lyndon Smith) is sure to get to the bottom of this. Local coroner Dr. Zeke Hudson (Tommy Savas) aids the investigation and the two even start a romance. But anyway, Jess starts the search for the Pan-American treasure that bonds her with her long-dead father, Raphael (Jacob Vargas). You can’t do a treasure hunt without friends and that’s where Tasha (Zuri Reed), Oren (Antonio Cipriano), and Ethan (Jordan Rodrigues) help out. Surprisingly, so to does Sadusky’s grandson, Liam (Jake Austin Walker).

If you’ve ever watched a National Treasure film, you know that there’s always an antagonist. This time around, it’s a black market antiquities dealer, Billie Pearce (Catherine Zeta-Jones). Unlike Ian Howe (Sean Bean) and Mitch Wilkinson (Ed Harris), Billie is not in this for the treasure itself. Eventually, we learn that she’s a treasure destroyer and working with the mysterious Salazar. Once Jess and her friends get to the bottom of it all, they make sure to stop her. Clues come in the unlikeliest of places, including a journal at the Louisiana Governor’s Mansion, a well at the Alamo (only it’s not that Alamo) and a secret room at Elvis Presley’s Graceland. The Graceland episode features Liam rocking it out in one of the best musical pieces of the series.

Justin Bartha and Lisette Olivera in NATIONAL TREASURE: EDGE OF HISTORY
L-R: Justin Bartha and Lisette Olivera in NATIONAL TREASURE: EDGE OF HISTORY – “Episode 104” (Disney/Brian Roedel).

Outside of Bartha and Keitel making small appearances in the series, composer Trevor Rabin returns to compose the score. His familiar cues are a welcome relief. He incorporates the film’s main theme into the theme during the opening titles. You’ll hear it again when they discover the treasure room. Did you think they were not going to discover it?!?

There’s nothing more suspenseful than having to wait a week for the next episode. While I had some recent luggage issues during Sundance, I made sure to watch that day’s episode before calling it a night. Even the next week, amid all of my Sundance obligations, I still made time for the newest episode of the series. Throughout it all, I enjoyed watching the characters develop week in and week out. There were twists and turns, too, with how they wrote the show. Just as relationships were starting to develop between characters, along comes the idea that wait, maybe one of them is working for Billie Pearce. And then it’s like, no, we’re just kidding! It only adds to more mystery and thrills in watching the series.

We knew that a second season was already in the works and that Cage is set to make an appearance. Anyway, the first season concludes with the door already cracked open and now the wait begins once more. We’ll just have to see what happens first: the second season or the third film. I’m sure there’s some 47 reasons to stay interested in the developments.

EDIT: The second season has not officially been confirmed but rumored, including reports of Nicolas Cage making an appearance. In any event, if the show is a hit, Disney will almost certainly bring it back for a second season.

CREATED FOR TELEVISION BY: Cormac Wibberley & Marianne Wibberley
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Jerry Bruckheimer, Cormac Wibberley, Marianne Wibberley, Jonathan Littman, KristieAnne Reed, Rick Muirragui, Jon Turteltaub
CAST: Lisette Olivera, Zuri Reed, Antonio Cipriano, Jordan Rodrigues, Jake Austin Walker, Lyndon Smith, and Catherine Zeta-Jones
GUEST STARS: Armando Riesco, Jacob Vargas, Breeda Wool, Tommy Savas
SPECIAL GUEST STARS: Harvey Keitel, Justin Bartha

Disney+ launched National Treasure: Edge of History on December 14, 2022. All episodes of the first season are now streaming. Grade: 3.5/5

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Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.