Sunday, June 22, 2008

Taken with Taken

Okay, I'm about six years late, but I finally watched the SciFi miniseries Taken, a Steven Spielberg production. It's a massive twenty-hour tale of multiple generations of families impacted by UFO-related abductions; in some ways, it's a darker look at themes that Spielberg touched on in ET, but in other ways it seems almost a complementary piece to the USA Network series The 4400.

Was it good? Yes, but I'm not sure it needed twenty hours to tell its tale. Even so, it was the best made-for-SciFi-project I've seen (if you've watched much of SciFi's programming, though, you realize that's a left-handed compliment at best). Since Spielberg was only an executive producer of the series, there's little of his influence to be seen in the final production. Some themes are familiar, but others--most notably the lack of importance in human nature and the lack of value of humanity in the cosmic picture--seem to almost counter his message in ET. And the aliens themselves, while rarely seen, are neither benign or benevolent.

It's an ambitious series, though, and it's one that seems to transcend the mired-in-genre formula that typifies most of SciFi's programming. If they turned out more work of this caliber, perhaps they'd be able to shake the grade-B rep that the network has maintained over the years.

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