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Reality Escapes ABC’s “Missing”

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 10:  Actress Ashley Jud...

Ashley Judd

Viewers will be missing something if they don’t watch tonight’s new Ashley Judd series “Missing” on ABC at 8 p.m. with a large group of people for maximum entertainment value.

I could just hear the laughs as Judd fights off much stronger men in her pursuit of her missing son, a survivor a decade earlier of a car bombing that claimed her husband.

See Ashley run. See Ashley kick. See Ashley shoot a gun. See Ashley spout lines loudly, like the one partly revealed in promos: “I am not CIA. I am a mother looking for my son!” And then there is a later one in which she compares herself to the mother who abandoned her and wouldn’t rescue her: “The difference today is I am (the) mother. He knows I will never give up!”

When it isn’t laughable, “Missing” is kind of suspenseful in an “Alias” sort of way as Judd plays a sympathetic character who will do anything to find her young adult son while traveling all over Europe.

Think the movie “Taken” with Judd in the Liam Neeson role. “Missing” is beautiful to look at and not just because of Judd, who likely will be one of only two recognizable actors in the TV cast. The other is Keith Carradine, who has a minor role.

Judd plays Becca Winstone, a former CIA agent who left the agency after her fellow CIA husband was killed and has gone to PTA meetings while raising her son for a decade. She is anti-smoking but doesn’t have much of a problem with violence. She has a variety of former CIA friends all over the world to help her find her son, including one that once upon a time she had an affair with and knows what her enemies are about to face. “God help whoever has him,” her former lover says.

Her marriage was solid until her foreign-sounding hubby got blown up in Vienna by Russian terrorists just after young son Michael left the car to retrieve a soccer ball.

The pilot gets a little sappy at times dealing with the mother-son relationship, with Michael giving her a code to say “I love you” because he doesn’t want to say or write the real words in front of his friends.

Reluctantly, she lets Michael go in his 20s and he heads to Europe. When he doesn’t call for a few days, mom has a sixth sense that something has gone horribly wrong. “Something has happened to my son,” she dramatically announces before heading to Europe.

Then she reveals her mad fighting skills and language skills. She also is fluent in Italian and knows how to handle a motorcycle. (Most mothers probably would wonder why she doesn’t wear a helmet).

She doesn’t always have charm skills. When she is told that her passport is going to be taken away, she replies to the guy with the power to do it: “Are you an idiot. I have passports all over the world!”

The pilot ends with great suspense that also is a little laughable considering Judd is the star. I won’t explain more but you’d have to be a TV idiot to take to seriously.

“Missing” can’t be rescued from its absurdity, but it is an entertaining and beautiful ride. Rating: 2 and a half stars out of 4

Sad to see the end of David Milch’s “Luck.” After a third horse died during its filming, HBO, Milch and director Michael Mann canceled the production of the low-rated series which dramatically improves during the nine episodes of this year’s initial run. Without occasional racing scenes, it would be hard to do a horse racing series. The ratings may not have played in the decision, but if “Luck” had been as smashing a success as “The Walking Dead” you can be assured that HBO would have found a way to save it.

If you missed it Wednesday, former Channel 2 anchor-reporter Marissa Bailey is becoming a nightside reporter at WBBM-TV in Chicago, the CBS owned-and-operated station in the third-rated market in the country. “I couldn’t be happier,” said Bailey. “It’s such a great opportunity to work at WBBM… Buffalo is such a great city with wonderful people and I feel so blessed to have worked with the best news team in Western New York. I learned so much from the viewers I talked to and the staff I worked with and I can’t wait to use those lessons at CBS. I promise to make Buffalo proud.”


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4 responses to "Reality Escapes ABC’s “Missing”"

  1. MJS says:

    Sorry Alan, I know you are/were a fan of “Luck”, but it was a total snooze fest and bore and I will make the broad assumption that a series based on horse racing does not have broad audience appeal- even for a subscription model station like HBO that does not require the ratings of a station like CBS. HBO needs to take a queue from Showtime and start producing series that have broad-level appeal like they used to with the Sopranos.

  2. Chris says:

    “The ratings may not have played in the decision”

    Do you really believe this?! I don’t care how many horses died during the filming of Luck, that had nothing to do with the show being cancelled. It’s just an excuse for everyone involved to save a little face instead of saying that despite having all this talant associated with the show, no one would watch.

  3. Bob says:

    I watched Missing last night and what bugged me most about the show was actually the sound.
    I had to turn it up really loud to hear anything they were speaking, but all of the music and background noise was tremendously loud. Most annoying thing about the entire hour

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