Vanished

closePlease note: This post was published over a year ago, so please be aware that its content may not be quite so accurate anymore. Also, the format of the site has changed since it was published, so please excuse any formatting issues.

I’ve been meaning to post this all week, and now it’s Friday and I’m “back posting” this to Thursday. Man, I sure know how to procrastinate.

I’ve been watching most of the new FOX shows and, while I like what I’ve seen overall, one show just isn’t doing it for me. That show is Vanished.

Vanished suffers from the same problem that Head Cases had: We just don’t care about the protagonist. In fact, I only care about one character on the show. I’ll tell you who it is in just a moment, but first, let’s run down some of the other primary and secondary characters, and how I feel about them.

Special Agent Graham Kelton – He’s the protagonist. His back story is that this is the first case he’s worked in, I don’t know, months or years or something. He was working this other case, followed an order from his superior, and because of that, the kid he was trying to protect was killed. So now his attitude is, “I’m a bad ass, know it all who was right when they told me I was wrong. From now on, I’m going to do things my way. Down with the establishment!” In other words, he’s a jackass and I don’t care about him.

Agent Lin Mei – She’s Agent Kelton’s plucky young sidekick. She’s also a bit of a know it all, but at least she’s nicer than he is. I have yet to find a reason to care about her.

Senator Jeffrey Collins – Senator Collins and Agent Kelton seem to be locked in this battle for the title of World’s Biggest Asshole. Neither of them likes the other and every chance they get, they try to make things hard for the other guy. They’re always very curt with one another and Senator Collins doesn’t like to follow Kelton’s advice. Personally, I think Collins will win the jerk-off (see what I did there? It’s like a cook-off, but they’re competing for who can be the bigger jerk, which makes it a jerk-off).

Here’s why I =really= don’t care about him: His wife goes missing. He saunters out into the lobby looking for her. “Have you seen my wife?” “No.” “She was with a hotel employee who had a goatee.” “Hotel staff aren’t allowed to have facial hair, sir.” So then, he flip his lid and goes nuts trying to find his wife. He runs outside and finds the macaroni necklace she was wearing (from an earlier scene) on the ground. He stoops down, picks up the necklace, and looks around frantically. The camera pulls up on a beautiful crane shot, Senator Collins drops to his knees, thrusts his fists in the cold night air, and cries out for his wife. “SARA!”

At least, that’s how it should have gone down.

Instead, he saunters outside (on a whim), picks up the macaroni necklace, looks around calmly, then walks back inside the hotel. “Oh well, she’s not out here. I guess I’ll get some coffee.” He doesn’t actually say that, but I can imagine it. It’s all so ho-hum. He doesn’t seem to care that his wife has just been abducted.

Also, did I mention that he’s a politician? So he’s a grumpy, difficult, apathetic politician who doesn’t even care about his wife (or, as we later find out, his children). Why, then, should I care about him?

Sara Collins – Why don’t I care about the victim of a kidnapping? Well, for starters, it doesn’t seem like she was kidnapped. It seems more like she ran away. In fact, as we learn at the end of the first episode, this isn’t the first time she’s run away.

The first time we see Sara Collins, she’s on the phone. We don’t know who she’s talking to, but she tells them to, “never call here again.” That sounds kind of sinister, doesn’t it?

Really, though, it boils down to the fact that we don’t get enough time to care about her. We’re told what a great person she is, but by the end of the first episode, we find out what a great person she is not.

Judy Nash and Adam Putnam – Judy Nash is a nosey reporter that’s banging Adam Putnam, her dopey camera guy. She’s better than most of the other characters, but her lack of scruples means I still don’t care about her. I’m lumping him in there because they’re practically joined at the hip anyway.

Max and Marcy Collins – Talk about two ungrateful little brats. Their mother is kidnapped and what do they do? Marcy runs off with her boyfriend and Max sneaks around behind his father’s back to talk to his real mom (Sara is their step-mother). In a way they’re both victims, but neither of them acts the part. They’re both being sneaky and underhanded, so I don’t care about them.

Ben Wilson – This is Marcy’s boyfriend. He’s a scummy guy who comes home one night with blood on his shirt and a sack full of money. Later, we find out that the blood belongs to the guy who is suspected of kidnapping Sara (he turned up dead pretty quickly). Ben is kind of a jerk to Marcy, and he obviously had something to do with her mother’s kidnapping (although he denies it), so I don’t care about him. He’s could be Mother Theresa in disguise and I still wouldn’t like the guy (then again, I’m not a huge fan of Mother Theresa).

Jessica Nevins – The ex-wife of Senator Collins and Max and Marcy’s birth mother. She’s a dodgy character at best. From what we’re told on the show, I’m pretty sure we’re meant not to like her, so I don’t.

Peter Manning – Finally, we come to Peter Manning. He’s the only character I like. He’s a blue-collar fisherman. He works hard to earn a living and, as far as I can tell, is a decent, respectable guy. He sees Sara on TV when they report her as having been kidnapped and immediately calls the police with information. He’s a good, upstanding citizen, right? Right.

In fact, we get some back story about him (in the second episode, I think). It turns out, he used to date Sara Collins; except that when he knew her, she went by a different name. Their back story is cute, but sad. They meet, he falls in love, and he proposes to her. His boat is leaving to go out to sea and all the wives and girlfriends are down on the docks saying good-bye. She never shows up and he never sees her again.

Because he’s the only character who isn’t an asshole, because he’s the only character who’s truly innocent, he’s the only character I like.

And that is why I don’t like Vanished.

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