Let me start by saying that in case any of you readers decided to watch Vanished based on the "viral video" that I posted back in August or so, or because I had a few good things to say about it when it first aired...
...I am so very sorry. I also apologize here, publically, to my wife, Jessi, who watched the first episode with me, wasn't all that thrilled with it, and then watched episodes two and three and really started getting into it.
As great as the show started... man, thanks to Fox, the show jumped the shark several times over!
In case you didn't watch the show, in the first episode, we're introduced to a senator and his second wife. He has two children from his first marriage, both teenagers (older teenagers). At a big frou-frou function, the senator's wife disappears, and is suspected to be kidnapped.
It turns out she is, and an FBI agent, Kelton, with something to prove is assigned to the case, along with his partner. There's also a TV reporter (I forget the character's name, as well as the actress' name, but she was previously famous for doing some soap commercial when she was a teenager... and was even mentioned in a Wayne's World segment on SNL) who's covering the story.
As things progressed, it was obvious that the kidnapping was done by a major consipiracy group that's somehow related to the Masons that did this to ensure their candidate got approved to be a Supreme Court Justice. This candidate had an affair with the senator's underage daughter, and we later learn she's pregnant with his child. There were twists and turns, as the daughter's boyfriend is implicated in the kidnapping, a mysterious man gives Kelton information that helps him find out a bit more about what is going on...
...and then Fox decided they didn't like the Agent Kelton character (so he got killed off -- the HERO of the series!) and that they needed to wrap up the series in 13 episodes...
...and then they took the show off the air before they could air those last episodes, condemming them to be aired over the internet on a MySpace page.
I think that the producers of the show basically said "F*ck it!" when they were told to wrap up the story in 13 episodes (I have no idea how many there were supposed to be), they threw in the replacement for Kelton, dropped a lot of the major conspiracy group stuff (making it look like the main movers and shakers behind this were part of a drug rehab retreat, of all things)... and had the senator's wife escape from her captors...
...and because she believed the crap her captors told her about her husband getting back together with his first wife, instead went back to this guy she got involved with long before meeting the senator, when she was using an assummed name.
Yeah, none of it ended up making a damn bit of sense. And Fox will be lucky if Jessi and I ever check out a new series on their network ever again.
Even if they come up with something as wonderful as House, I'm sure we'll wait to see if it lasts beyond one season before starting to watch it (and hope that USA or another cable channel shows repeats of the first season so we can catch up).
Oh, well... at least Heroes is going great guns, and it looks like Studio 60 will stick around for a while, too.
Can't say the same about Six Degrees, which we were also enjoying, but has also been pulled (with no hope, so far as I know, of seeing any unaired episodes).
Anyway, back to Vanished. I suppose I should be thankful we were able to watch the last four episodes or so, even if it was cancelled... but the ending they came up with was completely unsatisfying. It didn't resolve a damn thing whatsoever, and just made Jessi and I more frustrated than anything else.
So... let me offer some advice, in case any network people or TV show creators read this blog (as if!):
If you're putting a new TV show on the air that's going to tell a single serialized story, make sure the network is committed to showing the whole damn thing. And play it smart, plot it out to exactly 13 episodes. No more. If the numbers are good, you can do a sequel series (of, again, 13 episodes) that could run in mid-season or possibly later. Yeah, it's kind of like what's being done with shows like Psych, Monk and The Closer, where there's two "seasons" a year.
Anyway... like I said, 13 episodes. And MAKE SURE there's a satisfying end to it! And also make sure that when you're promoting the thing, you make sure to point out it is 13 episodes and that 13th episode will end the story!
The network should also arrange to show each episode on the Internet as well... and in a format BOTH PCs and Macs can watch (the MySpace page won't play for Macs) so that if someone happens to miss an episode, they can catch up (actually, they should have all episodes aired available to watch, like NBC's doing with Heroes).
And that's all I'm going to say about this.
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