Monday, August 21, 2006

Return of the Serials

My examination of the pilot for the new NBC drama "Kidnapped" also looks at a growing trend on TV this season.

"Kidnapped" follows the course of an investigation in the abduction of a boy, Leopold (Will Denton), the son of the wealthy Cains (Timothy Hutton, Dana Delany) over an entire season. With the kidnapper warning no police, the Cains hire a professional retriever, Knapp (Jeremy Sisto). The FBI, led by Delroy Lindo and Linus Roache, get wind of the case and get involved as well.

"Kidnapped" is a solid show, probably not the most anticipated show of the season, but one worth checking out.

The only risk in doing so, however, is that given its serialized form, viewers can find themselves watching "Kidnapped" and not finding out its resolution should the show get canceled or not renewed because of weak ratings.

More and more, networks are going after serialized dramas after the success of "Lost," "Desperate Housewives" and "24." While I think it leads to more stylized storytelling than most typical dramas, it's also very difficult to pick up should you not catch the series from the beginning.

Worse, you may never see the end. NBC ran a springtime series, "Heist" last season that wasn't renewed and ended with a cliffhanger, as did the ABC thriller, "Invasion." Even worse, some shows such as Fox's "Reunion" and CBS' "Threshold" were canceled in midseason, so fans of those shows didn't even get to see the mysteries play out.

With so many serialized dramas on the fall schedule, be wary of which ones you pick out -- you may be left hanging high and dry by a network suit. "Kidnapped," however, may be worth a roll of the dice.

TONIGHT'S BEST BET: Speaking of successful serialized dramas, "Prison Break" kicks off its second season tonight (8 p.m., Fox). We last left Michael Scofield and his crew running out in a field with half the state police right behind them. It will be interesting to see how the show fares without two actors returning to key roles — the Vice President (Patricia Wettig) and her brother, supposed murder victim Terence Steadman (John Billingsley). Both actors are heading to new series (Wettig to "Brothers and Sisters," Billingsley to "The Nine.") Both characters were relatively small, but pivotal to the conspiracy that drives the show.

1 comment:

Zodin2008 said...

As you saw, they smartly relaced the Terrence Steadman role since Billingsly had only been seen in 'shadows' and off to the side. Plus, the actor they got looks close enough.

One can hope that "Brothers & Sisters" gets canceled quickly so Wettig can return to the President Caroline Reynolds role.