Third-episode verdict: Missing (ABC)

The CarusometerA Carusometer rating of 3

In the US: Thursdays, 8/7c, ABC

Three episodes into Missing – aka The Bourne Identity crossed with Taken and starring Ashley Judd – and things have gone a little downhill. After a surprisingly promising but derivative and occasionally saccharine first episode, the second episode proved to be even more ridiculous than the first: Jesus of Montreal himself, Lothaire Bluteau, made an appearance to not much effect. Linguistic tricks around the phrase ‘hard drive’ were needed for a very uninteresting reveal. The break-in was silly, the whole Netleaks thing was even more ridiculous and the narrow squeak at the end preposterous. But it was still a tense hour.

Episode three was sillier still, with pretty much everything utterly predictable and featuring some really quite impressively bad acting from Judd’s best friend and the supposedly British lawyer who showed up.

Much of the tension in Missing comes from the fights and action. To keep things interesting, the show is varying what we get each episode, usually giving us one good stunt scene and one bad. So episode one had a very good martial arts fight and a very silly vespa chase; episode two went for car and motorbike-based excitement – and Ashley Judd running after a plane; and episode three gave us speedboats. But it’s very much diminishing returns. The fights in episode three were poor compared to that in the first episode and the vehicle work really wasn’t anything to write home about.

And unfortunately, as mentioned in episode one, the action is about the only thing going for the show apart from Ashley Judd and the location-shooting in France and Italy. The plots are now getting National Treasure-level ridiculous; the acting is dreadful, even once you make allowances for the fact most people are acting in a second language; there’s not enough characterisation and development going on to make you care about the characters; the dialogue is hideously clichéd; and everything is just way too easy for Judd, who keeps getting arrested then released for no good reason. Plus Sean Bean hasn’t turned up again.

If you want to consider it as a guilty pleasure, I won’t judge you – I’ll probably carry on watching it, too. But largely, this is a very silly show that should be a whole lot better but isn’t.

Carusometer rating: 3
Rob’s prediction: Will last a season then get cancelled.

  • The speedboat chase was a bit rubbish – just sailing around with nothing happening, until they start playing hide-and-seek a la Blue Thunder. And Ashley Judd has a sinus infection, the poor thing, which is why she's looking all puffy at the moment.