StorySteven Spielberg's alien abduction opus Taken is what happens when you cross-breed Close Encounters of the Third Kind with The Waltons. Obviously flushed with the success of the TV miniseries Band of Brothers, Spielberg's Dreamworks studio has created an equally epic 10-part story chronicling 50 years of habitual abduction over several generations of three American families. Beginning with the most notorious alien cover-up in U.S. history, the 1947 "crash" at Roswell, New Mexico, Taken introduces the "Greys" and the families they routinely abduct, probe, and, in a couple of cases, impregnate over the course of the ten 90-minute episodes. The three families are: the Keys, from which first Russell, then his son Jessie, then grandson Danny, are all abducted; the Clarkes, who are descended from a liaison between lonely put-upon housewife Sally Clarke and one of the Roswell crash survivors; and the Crawfords, the ruthless G-men who are committed to uncovering the purpose behind the alien visitations at any cost.
It's this question that forms the main thread of the story: but even though the Greys' actions are at best ambiguous and at worst hostile, the viewer can't help feeling that after all this systematic abuse of their human test subjects the aliens will in the end present them with a cure for cancer. In fact, Taken is Spielberg at his most touchy-feely: for all its science fiction trappings it's basically a soap opera, lacking the sinister undercurrent of either Dark Skies or The X-Files. Nevertheless, it's an engaging series with decent performances--most notably Joel Gretsch as psychotic Owen Crawford--good special effects, and an engaging enough storyline to make it entertaining, if somewhat disposable, TV. --Kristen Bowditch
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