George Clooney's 'Catch-22' miniseries never quite takes off

George Clooney, Christopher Abbott and Pico Alexander in 'Catch-22.' (Photo by: Philipe Antonello / Hulu)

(CNN)Joseph Heller's anti-war novel "Catch-22" is set during World War II, but was published just as the US began getting into Vietnam, and the 1970 movie came out in the midst of that conflict. George Clooney brings his considerable star power to bear in bringing the satire to Hulu, but the six-part series feels like less than the sum of its parts.

Strange and at times surreal, the story hinges on Yossarian (Christopher Abbott), a bombardier flying missions over Italy. Surrounded by kill-crazy commanders and eccentric peers, he desperately yearns to escape more missions, pleading with the unit's doctor (played by Grant