Friday, February 9, 2018

Pilot Review: Absentia

Absentia (Amazon)
Premiered February 1

Serial killers are very frequently the subject of television series, most often playing cat-and-mouse games with a federal agent or detective that they’ve chosen to taunt. This dates back to shows like “Profiler” in the 1990s and has been repeated time and time again since then in movies and television. When that law enforcement official becomes too entangled in the case and might even be abducted or killed, things get considerably more serious. That’s the idea here, with Stana Katic’s Agent Emily Byrne going missing for six years and then returning after being found in a cabin in the woods, presumably held prisoner by the very killer she was hunting. Naturally, things have changed and people have moved on because they thought she was dead, and readjusting to being free and back in her old life is going to be an enormous challenge, amplified by the fact that more murders are happening. It’s interesting to see Katic in this kind of role since, from the limited pieces and promos of “Castle” that I saw during the eight years it was on the air, I wouldn’t have guessed that she would go for such a dark role. There’s not much light to be found anywhere on this show, which proceeds along at a remarkably slow and uninviting pace. I get that a show about a deadly killer needs to be rather gruesome, but I was bored throughout the whole first hour and left it feeling less than inclined to revisit it.

How will it work as a series? It’s perfectly reasonable that people would question where Emily has been for the past six years and that they might even look to her as responsible for some of what’s going on. I don’t see a real positive way out of this for anyone, and a series as bleak as this without a real hook just doesn’t interest me.
How long will it last? This show released an episode each week beginning in September on AXN and has been available in full for the past week on Amazon. It’s listed as a miniseries on IMDB but I don’t know how definite that is. The reviews don’t seem to be overwhelmingly positive, and so I’d imagine that, unless it’s really watched by a lot of people, this will be it.

Pilot grade: C

No comments: