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TV Review: Vanished

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Fox has been hyping their new mystery series Vanished for weeks. Hoping for something like 24 meets The Fugitive, I forwent the conclusion of Italian maestro Dario Argento’s slasher epic Deep Red to watch.

The first episode of any series is difficult, double for an ongoing mystery series where presumably each episode will lead in to the next without any loose ends being tied up until much, much later. With all of that introducing of characters and establishment of plot, it’s hard to really get into the meat of the show at first and create enough suspense to keep everyone tuned in next week.

By the midway point of the first episode of Vanished, I was ready to write the show off and was missing my Italian blood bath.

We are quickly introduced to Senator Jeffrey Collins (John Allen Nelson), his wife Sara (Joanne Kelly) and son Max (John Patrick Amedori) before Sara gets a phone call and just like that, disappears. Just as fast, an investigation is brought down and the poor Senator’s wife is suspected as being kidnapped.

FBI agent Graham Kelton (Gale Harold) is running the show and is, of course, as brash as he is awesome. He’s introduced with a flashback doing some type of hand-off of copious amounts of cash for a small boy. A sniper shoots the bad guy but not before the boy is blown to bits by the bomb planted on his body. This is supposed to give Agent Kelton a dark, somber side and an attitude that says ‘let me do it my way’ because he didn’t actually want the sniper there, and without the sniper, the boy would have been in one piece, not a thousand.

The problem, midway, was that we’d been introduced to the characters and the core problem, but I didn’t actually care about any of them. The show rests upon the fate of Sara Collins, yet we only actually see her for about ten seconds, not long enough to develop any emotional attachment to her. The senator and his family are more developed, but in an attempt to make everything more mysterious (and presumably to add more plot twists later on) they don’t come off as too sympathetic. The agent's back story was just kind of dumb, and there are so many obnoxious but genius crime fighters on TV these days it’s hard to notice one more.

Ah, but past midway things got more interesting. It seems young Sara was previously kidnapped twelve years ago but the media coverage is either nonexistent or has been covered up. She also apparently had another name, as some stranger in a bar tells us after seeing her picture on the television.

Twelve years in the past is even more mysterious as Agent Kelton uncovers the body of a woman who was also kidnapped that many years before. Her body had been frozen since then and has now been thawing in the house registered to a man who happens to own the same type of gun that shot the waiter who told Sara about her disappearing phone call.

And the body has a card on it bearing the number 9:29. The number nine was also tattooed, post mortem, on the waiter’s hand.

That’s suspense, and has me interested in next week’s show.

While not exactly 24 meets The Fugitive (it’s more like a poor man’s Lost meets Matlock), it has enough juice to make me want to turn in next week. Unless Blockbuster sends me Dario Argento’s Suspira, then all bets are off.

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About Mat Brewster

  • I pretty much agree with your comments. I won’t be too disappointed if this show tanks since I am trying to not watch even more television than I currently do. I’ll give the show a chance, though.

  • Baronius

    I liked the show more than you did, but that is a great line about Lost meets Matlock. The thing that struck me was how long the show seemed. Normally, that’s a bad thing. But the show was just so packed with content. I thought it was 10:00 – they’d practically solved the case – and when I looked at the clock, the show was only half over. That’s going to be a tough pace to maintain.

  • Thanks folks. I’ll give it a couple of more shots if I remember when it’s on. The show definitely got better in the second half.

    With Matlock I was trying to pick a particularly cheesy show that represents TV drama a few years back. In the last 5 years or so TV has gotten so much better, more cinematic if you will, and this show seemed to aspire to those heights but fell a little short.