At first glance, Taken seems a lame attempt at cashing in on the Liam Neeson movies of the same name. Yet once you watch an episode or two, you realize that the prequel as this TV show is could be pretty good. Now NBC has canned it, will Netflix pick up Taken?
I hope so but I doubt Netflix will pick it up. It didn’t review well and didn’t get the numbers of viewers that made it a viable option for NBC so I’m not sure it has the appeal or following of some of the other canceled shows Netflix has picked up in the past.
Taken the TV show
Taken is set before the movies and follows former Green Beret and CIA agent Bryan Mills as he learns his new trade and has to deal with some tragedy. The TV show ran for two seasons of 10 episodes each before being axed by NBC last year.
The original showrunner, Alexander Cary left after season 1 and new guy Greg Plageman had different ideas he wanted to explore in season 2. This led to Gaius Charles, Brooklyn Sudano, Monique Gabriela Curnen, Michael Irby, Jose Pablo Cantillo, and James Landry Hébertwill all leaving the show. Even though the director of the Taken movies, Luc Besson stayed on as executive producer, it wasn’t enough to save the show.
Taken stars Clive Standen as Bryan Mills, Jennifer Beals as Christina Hart, Gaius Charles as John, Monique Gabriela Cumen as Vlasik and James Landry Hébert as Hebert. The cast is probably the highlight of this TV series. Each character is well cast and very capable. The chemistry between the main protagonists is realistic and they all seem to gel well on screen. It’s a shame that they fragmented for season 2 as I think it would have been much better received than it was had the original cast remained.
Taken season 1
Taken season 1 is the origin story of Bryan Mills where we see the ex-Green Beret begin his CIA career and watches his sister get killed in a terrorist attack. The attack was revenge from Carlos Mejia, a Mexican drug lord whom Mills had operated against in his army days and somehow he was able to be traced and his sister attacked and killed. The rest of the season follows Mills as he trains and gains new skills and goes after Mejia.
The rest of the season develops as Mills gradually climbs the ladder to Mejia while working for the CIA, shooting bad guys and saving the world.
Season 1 is a formulaic journey that we have all seen before. Clive Standen is a credible actor but doesn’t have the presence of Liam Neeson or the acting ability.
Taken season 2
Taken season 2 develops Mills’ character more by placing him in a Mexican prison. He promptly escapes but is involved in a plane crash with a murder witness played by Alexander Draper. They have to survive the elements and hunters to get home. Then the series turns into standard CIA vs terrorists faire with Mills hunting various bad guys for various reasons to make America safer.
Even though the original story has evolved into a procedural, the acting and screenwriting is good enough to carry you through. The change in direction from season 1 is a little disappointing but there is only so much origin story you can tell over 20 episodes. As long as you don’t think you’re getting sophisticated storytelling or amazing acting, you won’t be disappointed with Taken. Homeland this is not.
Will Netflix continue Taken?
Will Netflix continue Taken? I don’t think so. Whenever Netflix has picked up a previously canceled TV show, that show has had a cult following or some appeal that makes it worth investing in. Taken has nothing original, no hook that will attract new viewers and no unique feature that sets it apart from other TV shows just like it.
We have all see TV shows on the war on terror and while it works well, it has limited appeal both domestically and internationally. Outside the US, the CIA doesn’t have a great reputation and global audiences are a little jaded at yet another American saving the world.
Setting the TV show as a prequel and the cast were the saving grace of Taken. The movies were excellent and the character played by Neeson was believable. Origin stories always work well, nearly always anyway. Poor reviews, low Rotten Tomatoes scores and mediocre Metacritic scores didn’t do the series any favors either.
Did you watch the Taken TV show? Like it? Hated it? Tell us your thoughts below!