Premiered March 15 at 8pm
More and more these days, shows are focusing on a specific event and its aftermath rather than a stable, procedural format. Two short-lived fall 2006 series, “Kidnapped” and “Vanished,” which aired on NBC and FOX, focused on the abduction and disappearance of a son and wife, respectively. This spring, ABC is giving it their best shot, by featuring the kidnapping of young Michael Winstone by unknown assailants. The difference here is that his mother, Becca, is a former CIA agent, and, like Liam Neeson in most of his current roles and particularly in the film “Taken,” she isn’t about to let it go down quietly. The show’s writing is not superb, and Cliff Curtis’ Agent Dax Miller excessively familiar disgruntled federal pursuer makes this show feel especially uncreative. Ashley Judd is hardly the most capable lead, and much of the show’s success depends on her ability to carry the plot. Yet I will admit that the motorcycle chase scene that came towards the end of the pilot was decently thrilling and action-packed, and the show may prove worth watching if that kind of sequence is more present than any filled with dialogue. I’d have preferred to see a better showcase for Sean Bean, who, like many actors, goes from a stellar cable role like the one he had in “Game of Thrones” to an unspectacular part on a broadcast network show (see Giancarlo Esposito on “Once Upon a Time” for another instance of this). I suspect that Bean might return in flashbacks, and I have a terrible feeling that he’s not actually dead, which would just go to show that this series is nothing original. For the moment, let’s leave it at the lukewarm endorsement that there’s much better stuff out there.
How will it work as a series? The show has a sort of ticking time bomb mentality, and it’s most intriguing since Michael being found, which I’m sure will eventually happen, drastically charges the format and overarching purpose of the series. At this point, it seems like a one-woman rogue series, and that could work well for those excited about seeing a powerful female lead in an action series that demands week-to-week viewing.
How long will it last? The ratings for the pilot weren’t overly impressive, clocking in at fewer than watched the first episode of the doomed “Charlie’s Angels.” ABC has had trouble filling the slot before “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Private Practice” for a while, and something tells me that, while it’s not likely to be renewed, this show is probably going to be giving a chance for the rest of the season.
Pilot grade: B-