Series / Taken
is a Science Fiction
miniseries made in 2002. It's about three families, beginning with Russell Keys, an Air Force pilot who is abducted by aliens in the middle of a battle; Owen Crawford, an Air Force captain who is the first from the military to see the crashed alien spaceship; and Sally Clarke, a woman trapped in an unhappy marriage who meets a strange man in her shed. Three generations of conflict unfolds from these events, and we, along with the characters, slowly learn the motives behind the abductions that have been going on for almost a century.
Despite the overuse of cliches, it's actually pretty good. It focuses just as much on the characters as on the plot, as we watch them grow from children to adults.
Not to be confused with the 2017 NBC
, which is a modern-day prequel to the Liam Neeson
films of the same name
This series contains examples of:
- Aliens Are Bastards: A belief held almost unanimously by the military and especially the Keys family. When John an alien gets badly injured protecting Allie, he is met with no sympathy by even his own granddaughter who precedes to Calling the Old Man Out.
- Alien Invasion: Owen fears this is the aliens' ultimate plan.
- Aliens Made Them Do It: The penultimate goal of the aliens. Not played for humor OR sexiness.
- Anyone Can Die: And not just of old age. In fact, death by old age is pretty rare.
- Ascended Extra: Characters go from kids with little-to-no personality to protagonists.
- Bad "Bad Acting": Child Charlie's little play.
- Black Eyes Take Warning: When half-aliens or aliens disguised as humans use their powers, their eyes go black.
- Body Motifs: Hands and handprints tend to come up a lot.
- Boldly Coming: Quite a bit of it.
- Character Development: A major focus of the series.
- Conspicuous CGI: The aliens easily stand out from their surroundings.
- Deliberate Values Dissonance: Owen takes up smoking at the request of his doctor.
- Description Cut: Allie remarks that some people get mean when they get scared. We then cut to Eric Crawford.
- Do Not Go Gentle: Despite being ridiculously outmatched, the Keys family defiantly attempt to fight their abductions and even when they are caught, would rather go down swinging than be taken.
- Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: Owen Crawford learnt the hard way.
- Driving Question: What do the aliens want?
- Dysfunction Junction: Alcoholism, Oedipus complexes, multiple cases of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, drug abuse, outright sociopathy... Yeah, people in this show are pretty crazy.
- Eagleland: Jacob's teacher in 1962 is a type 2 version that thinks he's a type 1.
- Ending Tropes
- Evolutionary Levels: The alien John reveals that Allie is the next step in the evolution of life itself
- Even Evil Has Standards: You know you're messed up when your heroin dealer tells you you need to get clean. The tipping point is when you try to sell your father's war medals for a fix.
- Facefull Of Alien Wing Wong: Sally Clarke.
- Faking the Dead: Jacob.
- Fauxlosophic Narration
- For Science!: Dr. Wakeman kills a random soldier just to show off what the alien implants do.
- Freudian Excuse: Everywhere.
- Game of Nerds: The quiet, bookish Jacob plays baseball. He says that he enjoys it because he can never make assumptions (which is probably important to a psychic). His daughter assumed it was because it's impossibly hard, and had a lot of useless statistics he could memorize.
- Generational Saga
- Generation Xerox: No matter how much he denies any similarities to his father, Eric Crawford's life is very much like Owen's.
- It's actually a plot point regarding the Keys family. The reason the aliens are so interested in them is because all of them are fighting the abductions.
- Well, that and the fact that exposure to the alien impacts don't drive them insane.
- The Greys
- Groin Attack: How Mary gets to General Beers.
- Government Conspiracy
- Half-Human Hybrid: Though, unlike most examples, it took a lot of beta testing. Lots and lots of horrible beta testing.
- Heel–Face Turn: Dr. Wakeman, Ray
- Humans Are Special: The aliens are intrigued by humans because their own evolution branched away and stripped them of emotions. They are especially interested in the Keys family for their strength of will and physical hardiness.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: Allie.
- The Immune: The reason the Aliens are so intrigued by the Keys family, who are unusually resistant to the effects of their technology.
- Intrepid Reporter: Sam Crawford.
- Invisible President
- It's All My Fault: John
- I Will Wait for You: Sally for John. She never sees him again.
- Jerkass: Ray.
- Jigsaw Puzzle Plot
- Jitter Cam: Subtly, and rarely.
- Journey to the Center of the Mind: Of a sort. People who walk into the alien ship see people and places from their mind. Owen Crawford claims to be a manifestation of Mary's view of him. It turns out Allie was psychically manipulating everyone.
- Karmic Death: Owen Crawford.
- Lady Drunk: Ann Crawford
- Large Ham: Dr. Wakeman steals every scene he's in.
- Leitmotif: A whimsical little tune plays just before an encounter with the aliens. The title theme plays during a moment of love.
- Loads and Loads of Characters
- Meaningful Echo: Sally tells Jacob this phrase every now and again. Jacob repeats it, first to his mother when she sends him away, and again to his daughter just before he dies. She repeats it to Allie just before Allie goes with the aliens.
I love you. Every day and twice on Sundays.
- When Jacob is about to Mind Rape somebody, he says "Look at me". When Allie is about to save her dad, she says "Look at me".
- Mind Rape: Alien technology has a bad habit of inducing this.
All your memories play at once. All your memories and all your fears.
- My God, What Have I Done?: When Mary receives a posthumous video mail from Chet, she has a breakdown.
- Naked First Impression: Charlie and Lisa first meet when the aliens coerce them into having sex with each other. Much, much less funny and erotic than it sounds.
- Nobody Poops: Averted. At one point Owen holds a discussion with Those Two Guys while taking a piss.
- Not So Different: The aliens are similar to humans; both physically and biologically. One scientist compares this to the similarities to a human and a fruit fly to which Dr. Wakeman replies "maybe that's the point".
- Not So Stoic: Jacob, when he has to leave his mother.
- Perma-Stubble: Charlie grows some.
- Pet the Dog: While he isn't evil so much as an industrial-grade Tin Man, Jacob's gesture for his dying mother is very heartwarming.
- Power Incontinence: The aliens need to practice their natural psychic abilities, otherwise they kill humans. Half-humans need to be even more careful — they could accidentally kill themselves.
- Power Nullifier: A minor example. The military develop a helmet that can stop the aliens tracking Ally.
- Psychic Powers: Aliens and half-humans get them.
- Psychic Nosebleed: Loads and loads and loads.
- Reassigned to Antarctica: Actually carried out on the entire first team assigned to the crashed spacecraft (though to Iceland), then used as a threat for the rest of Owen's career.
- Redemption Equals Death: Eric Crawford, Dr. Wakeman
- Retraux: Subtly used. The direction of each episode tried to mimic the direction of movies from the time period. For example, the first two episodes used older tungsten lights, while the later episodes used more modern lighting systems.
- The Reveal: Turns out aliens had long since suppressed their emotions, which made them Above Good and Evil. They came to Earth to study humans, and accidentally crashed. Because of Sally, John's emotions become... unsuppressed, and the aliens decided to attempt to breed emotion back into themselves — hence, Allie.
- Redemption Equals Death: Even the ruthless Eric Crawford decides his daughter has gone too far in putting innocent civilians at risk and endangering the life of the young girl Allie. He dies attempting to avoid a bloodbath.
- Revolvers Are Just Better: A revolver sniper rifle shows up in episode 7.
- Roswell That Ends Well: Played with. What the farmer found really was a weather balloon, but it crashed because of aliens.
- Science Marches On: In-story example. As time passes, doctor's reactions to the devices in the Keys brains change.
- Shout-Out: Dr. Wakeman says the aliens are "nowhere as nice" as the ones from ET. Stephen Spielberg actually produced this series and it may also reference the aborted ET sequel that was to feature evil albino E Ts that abducted people.
- Skepticism Failure: Tom realizes that aliens are real after finding out his half-brother is half-alien.
- The Spock: Jacob
- Spot the Imposter
- Stay with the Aliens: Allie.
- Superpowerful Genetics: Allie's conception was the result of decades of genetics meddling in order to create in Mary Crawford's words "the next stage in the evolution of life". Her power more than validates the claim.
- The Stoner: Jesse becomes this after Vietnam, as well as befriending one.
- Those Two Guys: Bowen and Erickson, Owen Crawford's two closest lackeys.
- Timeshifted Actor
- Title Drop: The word 'taken' is used in place of 'abducted'.
- The World Is Not Ready: What happens with Allie in the end.
- Those Wacky Nazis: Dr. Kreutz is an ex-Nazi scientist. As a physicist he is more von Braun than Mengle, but he certainly doesn't have much problem with gruesome medical procedures.
- The Unfavorite: Eric, to Owen. Interestingly, Sam, the favored son, hates his father. It turns out the reason that Owen ignores Eric is because when Owen got Mind Raped by Jacob, he saw how he died, with Eric standing over him.
- The Unfettered: Owen Crawford really wants to find out what's up with the aliens.
- Unperson: Owen did this to his minions to force them into working for him.
- Vancouver Doubling: For many, many different American states. Sometimes more successfully than others.
- Villain Hasa Point: Col Greer believes the aliens should be considered as hostile, and lists the belligerent acts that no nation should get away with. The list includes unwanted abductions, human experimentation, violating airspace and stealing a highly classified energy reactor.
- Villain Protagonist: The Crawford family.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy / The Unfavourite: Eric Crawford. Owen barely acknowledges his existence.
- Wife Husbandry: The relationship between Wakeman and Mary Crawford: she and her "Uncle Chet" had wanted to sleep together since she was thirteen.
- White Sheep: Sam Crawford is the only one in his whole family that isn't a murderous sociopath. He is the only one that wants to reveal the alien cover up and risks his own life to defend a deformed and harmless alien half-breed.
- Wise Beyond Their Years: Allie.
- World War II: Where it all starts. Russell gets abducted in the middle of an air battle.
- You Did What You Had To Do: Chet tells Mary Crawford this to comfort her after Eric dies.
- Zero-G Spot: The mating of the man and the Half-Human Hybrid who produced Allie.