02 June, 2007


"The sudden disappearance of a senator's wife, quickly appears to form part of a wider conspiracy. The family of the missing woman, a pair of FBI agents, a journalist and her lover/cameraman, are all drawn into an evolving mystery with political and religious undertones."

Due to the success of Lost, serialised dramas became fashionable last season although for the next season, due to many failures, they have become unfashionable. Some people seemed to think that they failed because they were serialised but as Fox programmer Peter Liguori said, even dramas can work as long as they're good.

He continued saying, "The serialised shows that hit the air just simply weren't good enough. I don't think Vanished was unsuccessful because it was serialised. I think Vanished was unsuccessful because of the creative."

Although of course he wasn't saying that when he was promoting the show on his network. I was convinced that although Five bought this last year that they wouldn't actually show it. Not just because it's rubbish but because it was cancelled with a huge unresolved cliffhanger at the end, which is dishonest of them, at the very least.

It's cancellation was obvious from episode 1 but not too obvious and so Five can't be blamed too much for buying it. However, just as you can tell how good a script can be in the first ten pages, I can tell how good a show will be in the first ten minutes.

In an early scene - and this is a minor spoiler - there is a flashback to a hostage negotiation which goes wrong. The agent rushes to an explosion because it is more dramatic although there was nothing he could have done except be blown up. What he should have done was rush to stop the trigger being released in the first place, which was less dramatic but more truthful and actually possible. Any showrunner who is so casual about the psychological truth of characters so early on can't really be trusted. Harsh but fair.

This is a minor spoiler for the beginning of episode 2 which confirmed my cancellation prediction.

The senator's daughter takes a bag of money and a blood stained sweatshirt from her boyfriend suspecting he might be involved in the kidnap of her mother. (The boyfriend doesn't hide the bag and leaves it wide open so she can see what's inside). She then just drives around instead of asking him about it or taking them straight to the police. She might as well have announced by loud hailer: "I'm about to go the police but I'll just faff around a bit and wait until someone takes the money first before doing so. OK, I've stopped the car now for no reason and I'm going to leave the money in plain view while I leave the car, now is your chance."

Indeed someone does take the money but he chooses to hide in her car until she got back in before taking doing so. He tells her "don't trust your boyfriend." But she might have guessed that having bloody run away from him with his bloody money and his bloody sweatshirt!

Serialised drama requires a huge time commitment and I'm going to have to be ruthless in sifting out the time wasters. They clearly had no series arc in place and were making it up as they went along. Compare that to Heroes where everything came together at the the end perfectly.

Having said that there are quite a lot of people who really don't care about logic flaws and they were enjoying it. So if you don't mind the last two episodes being a bit ropey and inconclusive then give it a go.

Sundays, 10:00pm

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