• Warning: Spoilers
    Wow. Tough crowd here. I think y'all need to lay off the caffeine or lower the blood pressure, or something.

    Now I don't see why the show was so bashed around here, I saw the pilot last night and I was hooked. Even from the pilot episode it was clear that this show is a sort of hybrid of CSI, 24, and Without a Trace, with bits of The Da Vinci Code mixed in for good measure. The basic premise is this: at a political gathering for a Georgia senator, Jeffrey Collins, his wife, Sara, mysteriously disappears. The FBI is called in, and soon it's clear that nothing is how it seems - the disappeared woman might not even be the person she says she was.

    This is the type of show that if you miss an episode...you're out. You've totally lost the stream of events, and it's nearly impossible to pick the whole thing back up. And that can be both a blessing and a curse - while it's sure to keep viewers coming back for more, anyone who misses out will just stop watching the show.

    So a quick breakdown of the pros and cons of this show: PROS 1) Great directing for the pilot episode. Mimi Leder brings chops to this project, and her background in movie director really helps develop this one out over the course of an hour. 2) Good headlining cast. Gale Harold wasn't exactly what I had in mind for the lead FBI investigator, but he fills the role fairly well. Ming-Na is hilarious and likable at the same time as the petite secondary on the case. The rest of the cast, lead and supporting, also bring a sort of depth to their roles, that make you feel as if they're hiding something (or at least not half-assing the job). 3) The pilot hinted at a larger force or story at work, above the issue of Sara Collins disappearing. This seems like the kind of mystery that will have to be slowly teased out over the whole season, giving us a reason to keep watching. 4) Really, really great cinematography. The folks at FOX have found a way to make their transitions original, their high tension scenes actually tense, and making things move along at a fast clip.

    CONS 1) As I mentioned before, if you miss an episode, you're out. Plus, this show is only signed on for 13 episodes, before 24 comes in and takes over. 2) Even in the pilot, it feels like there's a lot to be keeping up with. So many questions. Who was Sara talking to on the phone? Why did she meet Jeffrey's ex-wife? Why is Max in secret contact with his mother? Why did that dead woman turn up holding a prayer card of St. Nathan? And why did the "concierge" die so fast? (In case you haven't noticed, there are about 15 different story lines here. It's like watching a very extended version of 'Syriana.') 3) The premise feels a bit tired. I mean, there have been a lot of cop/forensic/justice/whatever shows coming out over the past few years, the media is saturated with them. It's America's new obsession. FOX will have to do some clever innovating to set this one apart from the pack.

    But even with all that said, 'Vanished' is definitely worth an hour of your time on a weeknight. If you DID miss the pilot, you're in luck. Just google 'Vanished,' it'll take you to the FOX website for the show, and you can stream the pilot episode straight to your computer. Give it a shot!