The 2002 Spielberg fueled mini-series “Taken” is one of the few mini-series I’ve ever watched two times in a row. It’s at least fourteen hours in length. And I watched it two times in a row. “Taken” is just that good. The epic mini-series aired in the summer of 2002 on the Sci Fi Channel here in America, and on the 25th anniversary of “Close Encounters of The Third Kind.” While Science fiction was never really my niche as a pop culture fan, “Taken” is a whole new level of the genre that defies any and all conventions. It’s a mini-series that doesn’t just build up to something humongous, but it leads somewhere pretty incredible.
And in an odd sense, it works as a perfect companion piece to “Close Encounters.” Spielberg promoted the idea of fates, and human bonding with his film, and “Taken” just launches it in to an entirely new stratosphere where it explores the radical notion that every single person on Earth are connected, even if we’ve never met. “Taken” thankfully never fails to deliver on promises from the minute it begins, and bides its time over the course of its ten part series to offer us a wonderful resolution along with a large array of characters that are engaging, lovable, and absolutely compelling to watch. Based around three families in America, “Taken” spans at least five decades to tell the story of alien encounters, abductions, and fate that seems to be playing a hand in a world where most of its characters are convinced fate is nothing but a fictional concept. Based on the legacies of rich and troubled families the Keys, the Crawfords, and the Clarkes, “Taken” is a consistently incredible tale of humanity, and how we’re all connected until the very end.
The early part of the series is set in the forties, where Sally, a lonely young mother who spends her days anxious for companionship while tending to her children. After sightings of UFOs over the country resulting in the Roswell incident, Sally meets John, a mysterious man who happens to be an alien hiding from the government. Oblivious to his true form, the two form a love affair, and she becomes pregnant with his child. Years later, when Sally grows older, she births a young boy named Jacob, a half human and half alien imbued with special powers. “Taken” is granted the talents of a slew of veteran character actors, including Anton Yelchin, John Hawkes, Julie Benz, Emily Bergl, and Heather Donahue, and seamlessly follows the characters as they attempt to make sense of their alien encounters.
All the while every one within the parameters of the narrative evolve and grow in to rich human beings affected by their experiences. The aliens have almost had a deep-seated grasp on their subjects over the years, altering their perceptions of reality, and leaving them hollow shells of their former selves. But along the way, writer Leslie Bohem takes the various randomly wandering individuals and connect the dots as the series sinks further and further in to the contemporary time period. Every storyline has a semblance of humanity and emotion to them, and every member of the cast offer incredible performances that help keep the story’s momentum consistently fluid and powerful. From the forties, we enter in to the Vietnam era, post vietnam trauma, and the more turbulent eighties, while characters reveal parts of themselves they never knew existed, all in an effort to figure out what the sacred “artifact” is and why it’s here.
Why do the aliens just keep coming? What do they have planned for the world? And why are they so firmly connected to only three family bloodlines time and time again? “Taken” aims for surefire family drama with amazing episodes like “Jacob and Jessie,” and “Charlie and Lisa” while also never showing fear to be dark and suspenseful with episodes like “Acid Tests” in which one of the Crawfords attempt to uncover the secret of an Alaskan town involving a monster, and “Maintenance” which turns the tide in the Keys family line. “Taken” never fails to keep audiences’ attentions, leading in to a spectacular finale that brings the entire storyline full circle with star Dakota Fanning as Allie Keys. “Taken” is one of the greatest television mini-series I’ve ever seen, and a surefire genre masterpiece fit for an audience that appreciates rich character based epics.