First, Taken. On the one hand, why O why this craven clinging to the whole threadbare Roswell/alien abductions/X-Files storyline? There are so many other fine tales yet to be brought to the screen. On the other hand, some courage required to produce something so darn long. A couple of really bad moments. The half-aliens in episode four were the low point. But mostly very watchable and entertaining. Tale of three generations of three families from 1944 to the present. Two families of abuctees, one family of ... well, Men in Black. Buddenbrooks it ain't. (Bildungsroman der Dritten Art? Nope.) But the treatment of the government agents in particular - grandad, then son takes over the project, then granddaughter - was the modestly original element of the drama. What would it be like to be in charge of a government cover-up of crash-landed aliens, the whole abduction phenomenon, so forth? You would be sinister, banal, frustrated and weird by turns, wouldn't you? Two of the government agents have a sort of Mulder/Scully thing going on. (And I had a special two-fer, 'hey, it's that guy!' moment when I realized it was Max Headroom, a.k.a. the guy from Lawnmower Man 2, and that chick from the Blair Witch Project.)
A couple thoughts. First, the whole thing surely didn't cost that much. Mostly just people in buildings or fields or cars, talking. No A-list stars. Come to think of it, quite a bit of the good fantastic fiction I think would make pretty OK cinema or TV wouldn't necessarily cost that much to produce. Because lots of the good stories aren't just rollercoaster rides of thrills, spills, chills and kills. Hollywood tends to run together the categories of fantastic fiction and really expensive blockbuster special effects extravaganza.
Second, while one is grateful for the deliberate expository pace afforded by 15 hours of screentime, one laments the fact that more was not done with such a huge canvas. There are parts of the story that are just too simple to make sense. When you don't have the excuse that you are squeezed for time, you are simply insulting the audience's intelligence. I do hope somebody gets the greenlight to make a 15-hour s-f epic that isn't about alien abductions.
The BBC production of Gormenghast was - well, there was nothing wrong with this adapation of my favorite books that $200 million wouldn't have fixed. It was fun, but it would have been so much more fun as a blockbuster special effects extravaganza rollercoaster ride of spills, chills, thrills and kills. Damn shame, really.