“What I have are a very particular set of skills…” OK, Ashley Judd doesn’t actually use that line in the pilot episode of ABC’s new kidnapping thriller ‘Missing’, which premiered this past Thursday, but she might as well have. The show is almost painfully derivative and formulaic.
As mentioned, the series stars Ashley Judd and her new face. Together, they play Rebecca Winstone, a middle-aged soccer mom and florist… Or is she??? The opening scene introduces us to Rebecca’s too-perfect-for-words husband, Sean Bean, who tells her over his cell phone how much he loves her and can’t wait to get home to her as he steps into his car. You know what that means. It’s time to update that death reel.
Yup, 30 seconds later… KABOOM!
Cut to ten years later. You can tell it’s ten years later because Ashley Judd has a completely different hairdo. It doesn’t look the same at all. Also, her precocious young son is now a precocious college student who wants to take a study-abroad architecture course in Rome. Wait a second, that’s the same Rome where his daddy got blown up!!!
While she has some reservations, mom Becca eventually agrees to cut her apron strings and allow the boy, Michael, to make his own decisions. Her only condition is that he call her to check in every single day, which the momma’s boy was already planning to do anyway.
So, after about three days, the kid stops calling or texting. Mom knows that something is up, and jets over to Italy posthaste. She snoops around in his empty apartment, where she’s interrupted by a sneaky guy with a gun. That can’t be good. Not to worry, Becca busts some mad MMA skillz on his ass and puts that sucka down cold. What the what, now? Isn’t this woman a mild-mannered florist? No! She’s actually a retired CIA super-assassin! Whoa! I never saw that plot twist which is prominently showcased in every single one of the network’s ads coming, like, at all. What a shocker.
Becca quickly ascertains that her boy was kidnapped… or, you know, umm… Taken. She spends the rest of the episode Bourne-ing around Europe to track down the kidnappers, all the while kicking bad guys’ asses, evading Interpol authorities, and engaging in high-speed Vespa chases.
Yes, a Vespa chase. Excuse me for a moment while I finish snickering…
Ahem… Sorry about that. Anyway, Becca makes her way to Paris where she gets shot on the scenic Pont Neuf Bridge, falls into the Seine, and sinks beneath the water. The end.
I guess that’s it for the show. That didn’t take long, huh?
Oh, right, that’s probably just a cliffhanger and she’ll be fine. That might explain the scenes from upcoming episodes where she does not appear to be dead. Unless that’s another twist, and she’s a middle-aged, ass-kicking CIA assassin ghost! Awesome!!!
Errmmm, you can probably guess from my tone that I think the show is pretty generic and ridiculous. It also has some of the most embarrassingly fakey green-screen process shots I’ve seen on television since… well, honestly, since last week’s episode of ‘The Office’ that I watched right beforehand. (Did y’all catch that terrible shot of Erin standing in front of a blatantly green-screened picture of a house? What was that about? Could the production really not find a house for her to stand in front of for 30 seconds?)
Sorry, I seem to have gotten side-tracked again there. Long story short: Meh, not watching again.
Actually, after watching the first two episodes, I thought this show could have some merit. It is a female version of “Taken” in some sense, but it is well played and has some good photography in what are billed as foreign countries (maybe an LA back-set but fill-in footage is well done). The only weakness I see is that the ongoing plot will become considerably repetitive after a few episodes (Becca never quite catching up to her son). Better done as a mini-series???