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I guess promising to air the finale of a show isn't the same as promising to air every episode.

Persons Unknown and the Missing Episode

I am, as I know I’ve stated in the past, a fan of serialized television.  I like being able to come back to a show week after week, month after month, (hopefully) year after year, and watch things unfold.  I’m always curious about where a show may be heading, what ideas the producers have, and if the producers have maintained a constant vision for the show – if they’ve had an idea from the beginning of where they would be by the end.

It is because I am such a fan of serialized television that I tend to think twice before embarking on a new serialized show.  There are questions that must be asked.  Do I think that the show has a chance or that I’ll be massively disappointed when it just disappears?  Are the characters and story the sort of characters and story I want to stick with for an extended period?  Do I have faith in the producers?  In the actors?  In the network?  What else am I watching in that time period?  Now, I don’t need all the answers to fall into the right boxes, there is a careful sort of calculus that takes place. 

This summer, that calculus led me to watch Persons Unknown.  I figured that NBC would stick with the series even if the numbers weren’t good because, hey, it’s the summer, what else are they going to throw on?  The numbers weren’t good and the show got punted to Saturday nights, but I have a TiVo so that didn’t matter and I stuck with it.  I stuck with it to the point that when the NY Giants had a preseason football game on the local NBC affiliate this past Saturday night, I hunted down the series on one of NBC’s digital feeds and recorded it there (something I’ll be doing again this coming Saturday night). 

Sadly for me, this time out my faith has not been fully rewarded.  While I am intrigued by the plot and some of the characters, NBC has opted to not bother airing all the episodes that they have.  The network did promise all summer long that they would finish the season – that our questions would be answered – but they’re going to get to that finale next week by skipping an episode.  This past weekend we got episode 10 and next weekend we get episodes 12 and 13.  It doesn’t take a very astute person to figure out that, sequentially, an episode must be missing and that disappoints me mightily.  It just doesn’t seem right to do that. 

If you’re one of the few other people out there watching Persons Unknown, while you may be as equally disappointed as I, all hope is not lost.  NBC has placed the “missing”  11th episode of the series on their website.  Not having seen it yet, I have no idea at this point how relevant said episode is to the conclusion, but as a lot has taken place over the last few weeks, I wouldn’t be particularly surprised if it is an exceedingly important episode… at least, important if one wants to understand all that takes place in the finale. 

I will admit that I’m happy that NBC won’t simply be throwing that episode in on the DVD release, in this day and age of streaming video that would seem completely wrong, but still have trouble imagining that they couldn’t have worked out a way to air it on the network. 

In case you’re displeased with NBC to the point where you don’t wish to go to their website to view the episode, it’s embedded below.

About Josh Lasser

Josh has deftly segued from a life of being pre-med to film school to television production to writing about the media in general. And by 'deftly' he means with agonizing second thoughts and the formation of an ulcer.

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