**** MISSING airs on the local ABC affiliate which is 6 WSYX ABC and can be found on channel 6. For HD channel versions, check your local cable or satellite provider for more information. ****
ABC’s new series Missing starring Ashley Judd as Rebecca Winstone asks ‘How far would you go?’ in a episodic television series where Winstone goes to great lengths to find out what happened to her son who has gone… wait for it: Missing.
The plot is very basic: a mother loses her son overseas and she goes nuts looking for him. And when I say nuts I mean she starts hunting down (and killing) the people who did this to her son. Because by any definition this is not what normal people do.* But then again Ashley Judd’s Rebecca Winstone is no ordinary or normal mother; she is an ex-CIA agent.
(*) Normal people call the police.
Literally this is a tv-female centric version of the Liam Neeson film Taken. I can’t say much more than that in terms of basic story. Sure-sure they have added a sympathetic to her cause government spook (Agent Dax Miller played by Cliff Curtis) but by all accounts, it’s still the basic premise on the surface.
It’s best to clear up any further intentions of this review by stating that this examiner is a modest fan of Judd’s work including all actors involved actually. So it pains me when I say that this pilot was just horribly directed and thus ruined what could have been a cliché-by-the-numbers pilot with good acting and interesting direction. Instead we are left with laughable notions based around how the darn thing was shot together or edited, both which seem more like directorial decisions.
Upon reading/reviewing discussions with showrunners who are in most cases ‘God’ when it comes to how the show goes to air, it is also important to understand that pilot episodes the director has more say and the executives have more say in some cases. So who dropped the ball here?
The death of Rebecca’s husband Paul (played by Sean Bean who always seemed to die in film or tv), which should have been a powerful moment and the very thing that sparks the entire series into action, is dull, boring and possibly sets up the bigger spoiler which is Paul faked his death or someone else faked his death. It was quite laughable. As this scene unfolded due to the horrible direction it pained this reviewer to watch. Television and film is a visual medium used to bring the words on the page to life. And it just did NOT service the words on the page. It did a dishonor to it. I just can’t believe that the words on the page made it so painfully obvious that Bean’s character didn’t really blow up in the car. And the slow motion close-up on the kid going ‘No-o-o-o-o!’ was just excruciating.
And let us be clear here by clarifying that this show is in no way Shakespeare; nor do I wish it be. Taken as a film is not Shakespeare either but at the end of the day it was a fun romp as we got to see Liam Neeson who usually isn’t seen (or wasn’t at the time) playing a ‘bad-ass action hero’ who will do anything to get his daughter back. The trailers or previews of the show spoke to me in the same vein; it’s a fun one hour excursion seeing Ashley Judd play against type by starring as the ‘bad-ass action femme fatale’ doing anything to get her son back.
For a show that is merely an hour long, it was more a tedious chore to watch if it wasn’t for Judd, Bean, Curtis and the other actors. The first hour ending with Rebecca getting shot and possibly dying in the Seine river did not make me excited for episode two, but I will hold out for a few more episodes to see if the series improves.
But what do YOU think, examiners?
You can comment below or send your thoughts via e-mail or heck, if you have twitter, tweet us!
Let us know and we may read your comments on Nick’s podcast, the Good, The Bad & The Geeky! Also, If you like what you hear, please subscribe on iTunes.