08 June, 2007

Runaway


One of the biggest surprises I have ever had in my life was discovering that E4 was showing this as the show was cancelled after airing only 3 episodes of the 13 ordered.

"Runaway chronicles the life of the Raders, an average middle-class American family who just moved to Bridgewater, Iowa from Potomac, Maryland. Although they may look like the perfect family neighbours see every day in their lives, the Raders are also a family with a secret: they are frequently on the run from the law. That's because Paul Rader, the patriarch of the family, was convicted for a crime that he didn't commit."

This is one of those serialised dramas like Kidnapped and Vanished which were unable to keep enough of an audience but the audience for Runaway was the worst of the bunch by far. It was the only new drama on the new The CW network (which merged UPN and The WB) and it replaced the brilliant Everwood.

Its cancellation was easy to predict from the pilot not because the writing was particularly bad, it was OK, but I couldn't see how the premise could be sustained for a mass audience. I gave it a miss after episode 2, like most people apparently. If you decide to watch it look at the pacing and what time period episode 2 covers. Not the best way to maintain tension.

The family on the run aspect is great as it gives you a family drama but with the added tensions of being scared of being caught, remembering your fake identities and backgrounds and not knowing if it's worth developing new friendships and relationships as you could soon be on the move again. What didn't work for me was the seemingly omniscient baddie and the by now wearily familiar FBI Fugitive sub plot.


I saw it as unsustainable in the long term because moving to a different location every few weeks wouldn't work but if they don't then the FBI can't be all that good. Like Kidnapped and Vanished if it had been arced as a mini-series in the first place - rather than them trying to get several series out of a one series idea - then it would have been better.

Kidnapped was allowed to wrap up the story, Vanished was told to wrap up the missing person storyline but left several others up in the air but what happened with Runaway is a mystery. They managed to make nine episodes before production stopped. The ninth is called "End Game" so it's possible they wrapped it up in those nine. But according to the Radio Times E4 are only showing six.

I do recommend watching the pilot, as all pilots, and see if you agree with me about the premise.

Runaway
E4,
Wednesday 13 June,
9:00pm

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