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65 out of 103 people found the following review useful:

This show really surprised me!

Author: asoupfullofbees from United States
8 June 2010

This show really surprised me! With very little advertisement and on a Monday night line up its actually a very promising show. The few previews I did see kind of made it out to seem like some Saw rip off made for TV. The show was actually quite the opposite, it may be considered a horror TV show by some people but I believe it is more of a thriller.

The basic premise revolves around a group of strangers kidnapped and dropped off in a weird town in the middle of nowhere. No one really knows what's going on, so the main plot is to uncover why and who has placed them there. It definitely gives a Lost type of confusion which leaves you with more questions.

So far only the pilot has aired but I was very impressed and hope some people check it out. It's on Mondays on NBC. A lot of good shows like this go unnoticed and get canceled so if you're looking for a good new show check it out.

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30 out of 40 people found the following review useful:

imaginative, clever, metaphoric

Author: photo-30 from United States
1 October 2010

Not sure why so many people were disappointed in and even hated this series. They even blasted the production and writing. The whole point of this story is that there is no end, no exit. It's like life, it just keeps changing with some new and some same people, and different levels of "evolution". There is no way out. We are stuck with who we are and how we work it all out. The writing is concise, to the point, and doesn't get bogged down in misdirection. People answer with immediate understandings, and the action moves quickly. And the photography and, lighting, and camera work is excellent. I know because I'm a professional photographer who has worked on some high end productions. The acting is true and heartfelt. It's a great metaphor for life on so many levels. The resistances to what is, the paranoia, the struggles with questions of doing what it takes, survival, and compassion in the face of distrust. The dynamics are great to watch. There are of course some aspects that are easy to criticize because, hopefully, the conspiracy is contrived and nothing like this could happen. But perhaps on some levels, we actually live in this kind of world. So yes some plot lines are unexplained and far-fetched, but are they really. There is a lot of mystery around all kinds of corporate and govt activity.

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42 out of 64 people found the following review useful:

Great summer mini-series

Author: chrisjmcg from Maryland, United States
5 July 2010

It's really a shame that this great mini-series - as I have heard it advertised several times now - fell to the bumbling NBC, and then got moved from a "safer" 10:00 slot to a very early summer time of 8 eastern. Regardless, I've been trying to recruit as many friends and family as I can - particularly "24" and "LOST" fans - as Persons Unknown has given me at least one reason to look forward to Mondays.

Created by Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects, Valkyrie), this show provides non-stop suspense while keeping you in the dark plenty enough as to WHO is watching these poor folks attempt to keep their sanity, among other things. As a couple of other posters alluded to, I also was worried after weeks one and two if the show would be able to keep providing adequate suspense. After watching episode 5 tonight, the answer is a resounding yes: one could almost argue that there is an overload of questions for the viewer. That is not a problem that I mind, and each week has built on the last, making the show stronger as it progresses.

If you have not checked out this show yet, it's not too late, but at the same time, catch up if you can. It'd definitely be worth your while to see why this bizarre town is about as creepy as the woods from The Blair Witch Project and the island of Lost combined into one.

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31 out of 48 people found the following review useful:

What a waste of film and my time

Author: chicagorob1 from United States
28 August 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

When the show first started I had really high hopes. The ads kept promising everything would be answered by the end of the summer. With so many disappointments over the last few years it was refreshing to have a complex and mysterious series actually complete it's run. I was snookered in by Invasion, Threshold, Flash Forward, Daybreak, etc., etc. But a promising miniseries with real answers and a definite conclusion was something I looked forward to.

Unfortunately, that wasn't the case. The initial premise was promising and provocative, but the show, episode by episode, fell apart so quickly it was like watching a train wreck.

The plot about a worldwide conspiracy to kidnap random people, throwing them into deserted towns in the middle of nowhere, where they are tortured/tested and observed, goes nowhere quickly.

We're never given a reason why 1. This vast all-powerful organization kidnaps and tortures innocent people for no reason. 2. Those working undercover in the "The Program" are so invested and committed that it doesn't bother them the test subjects are tortured and usually killed. 3. Why The Program have so much worldwide control after only 50 years of existence. 4. What Robert Picardo was thinking when he showed up during the last few minutes of the series. He wore a stupid long white wig and his only scene involved asking the chairwoman pointless questions as slowly as possible. 6. What the whole point was anyway.

The last show was made up of random scenes of the captives on the run. For some reason, some of them are suddenly in Morocco, an impossibility since they had had no money or IDs.

In fact, even though the series definitely ended with the thirteenth episode, there were so many new unanswered, cliff-hanger questions - it seemed like the writers just wanted to spit in our faces with the unsatisfactory and pathetic finale.

This series made Lost's recent finale look like Shakespeare, with every tiny question answered and every plot point nicely tied up. Of course, that didn't really happen, but Persons Unknown botched their responsibility far, far worse than that. How did this ever get green-lighted, and is the NBC executive who approved the show still working in television?

In the end NO questions were answered, other than what else I will be doing if this garbage gets renewed (doubtful) - I'll be doing something else.

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47 out of 83 people found the following review useful:

550 mins of pointless badly executed nothing

Author: rob o'cop from japan
2 September 2010

More fool me for being tricked into watching this badly written and executed soap opera. It actually had something resembling a premise at the beginning but the ham-fisted shambles of a story and direction couldn't pull a worthy moment out of it and we're left with episode 13, which leaves all of the cast in exactly the same position as they were in in episode one, implying that there will be a second series but we know that's not going to happen. So what do we get from this series? 550 mins of wasted time, peppered with 'are you serious???' moments of utterly jaw dropping bad set ups, mind numbing plot holes and inconsistencies. I felt sorry for the actors having to deliver lines and scenes which were so embarrassingly bad they must have cried themselves to sleep at nights for the steep downward turn their careers must have taken to get them into the mess of a show they were acting in.

Bad, oh so very bad, but packaged like it had something to offer. Don't be fooled.

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23 out of 38 people found the following review useful:

bad bad bad

Author: amy ( from United States
30 August 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I wish I could give this a vote of something less than 1. I agree with the other reviewer who felt like they had been urinated on after viewing this series. The creators of this show should be ashamed of themselves. The only reason I bothered watching it was because NBC promised that all answers would be revealed by the end of the summer. Well, this was a blatant lie. What a waste of time. The dialog was laughably bad, but I kept watching because I wondered how the writers were going to wrap things up. Here's how they did it: They wrapped up absolutely nothing. The story just keeps on going. All the same people are still trapped in the stupid unexplained "program" like every other episode. Nothing changed after 13 episodes. How uncreative and mind-numbingly stupid and boring is that? Seriously, worst writing ever. Which is fine, fair enough, except they lied about revealing any answers. I should have known not to trust a television network. And here I was thinking television was my friend. On well. I really wish I hadn't invested one hour per week on this crap. I wish I had saved all the episodes so I could go back and find all its advertisers and boycott each and every company that helped pay for this series.

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10 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Suspense dissolving

Author: andrastea from Canada
30 August 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

And that is the fall-back of this show. All goes relatively well till episode 11, but the last two are just disastrously badly written. They obviously had to cut the story short, so short that some dialogues and events literally drop down from nowhere without introduction. Also irritating advertisement of last two episodes answering all the questions is complete b. Perhaps they were hoping for the second season? There was a nice start but in the end the whole thing went way too complicated. Sometimes less is more.

This story could have worked as a mini series if they had made a proper ending. The show has been compared to Lost, but somehow the atmosphere reminded more of that in the Lost Room or even the 4400. The setting is quite traditional following human behaviour in isolated and confined environment; in this case seven strangers wake up to find themselves locked in their hotel rooms in a small town build to look like it is from 50s. They know nothing about how or why they were taken or even by who. But they soon learn through the hard way that there is no way out. They are been watched continuously through surveillance cameras, they eat only at the Chinese restaurant, and they have a "night manager" at the hotel. The town part is more mental rather than physical in nature. The second story line provides more action following two journalists who find out the connection between disappearances and mysterious Organization that seems to see and be everywhere. And of course everything and everyone is somehow connected, and everyone has something dark in their past.

Some characters play well together like Jason Wiles' mysterious Joe Tucker, Alan Ruck's rich tormented Charlie Morse, Sean O'Bryan's used cars salesman Bill Blackham and Lisa Holmes' "how can she know so much of medicine if she is a teacher?" Moira Doherty. Unfortunately the lady lead Janet Cooper played by Daisy Betts is severely one dimensional, and the fact why there is something about Janet that makes everyone falling for her and question their lives doesn't open up for a viewer. This is obviously somehow important as Joe is somehow special, but 13 episodes created more questions than answers.

Overall the whole thing left bad taste to mouth. Without those last two episodes even 8 stars, but with them it goes down to 4-5.

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13 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Poor writing, unexplained plot -- though answers were promised

Author: xxxciter from United States
29 August 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The writing sucks -- blank stares from Joe is not "good writing!"

I'm sick and tired of poor writing presented under the guise of "character driven." Who's the idiot who thinks we, the viewers, want stupid unexplained, mysterious, unending plots with REALLY INTERESTING CHARACTERS?!?!?

NBC lied to me -- nothing was explained -- what was the purpose of The Program? The Director could have slipped that in at the Board Meeting, but I doubt the writers knew what the point was themselves!

I will not be watching NBC shows and I will SPECIFICALLY NOT BE PATRONIZING NBC ADVERTISERS!!!

They promised they would explain "the point or purpose of The Program." BUT THEY DID NOT! WHY have these characters been chosen? To what end? What has Janet's mother promised? THERE ARE FAR MORE QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS -- and many stupid inconsistencies (like, how do you cut off the thumb of a "live" person in a body bag without realizing they were alive!)

The reality is we could "debate" the meaning of the show, BUT I DOUBT THERE REALLY IS ONE -- I don't think the writer knows what the F*CK he was trying to say...

Let's make a show where a gunman goes into schools (after we get attached to the kid's "characters") and just kills them all for the fun of it -- yeah, that would be a really great show... (You can only get away with that in "disaster" movies because "acts of God" are beyond our control or explanation -- but some person "created" and thought up The Program and we ALL wondered WHY?)

UNLESS it's a metaphor for how "life" is really just a prison that we can't escape from -- but we don't kill ourselves to escape because of the "illusion of free will..."

(P.S. free will is NOT an illusion -- its a LIE -- when you are a prisoner and you have no control over your situation -- except the "illusion" that you can choose your "purpose" in life, and "choose" to be happy, etc.)

Yeah, THAT must be it!

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19 out of 33 people found the following review useful:

Hey! we need a - "get people stuck in front of the TV, the whole summer" - Series.

Author: filenty from Sweden
29 August 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

There is only One thing that a potential viewer of this series need to know! You won't get an answer in the end - It's 13 h of dragging the audience around the bowl of fire. And then just urinating on them.

Yeah, I'm quite upset. If this series instead would have been a 2 hours of lousy performance - I wouldn't bothered to login at IMDb writing this. But I feel cheated. It started out as JUST a potentially great story, but with a lousy execution - almost at the brink to unbearable. But then it turned out to be just as bad story.

If I ever meet the producer and/or the writer, I will give him a physical treatment.

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24 out of 43 people found the following review useful:

Stay away

Author: Trasher
11 September 2010

If I had a time machine, the first thing I would have done before traveling to 21th December 2012 to see if our world is really gonna blow out or something, I would have go back to the day I started watching "Persons Unknown", turn off the TV and write on my mirror "Avoid Persons Unknown like it was a dangerously blazing fire or the second strike of Black Death".

The problem of this show is that it ends with too many open ties and that the viewer is left with the same thought he had after the first episode ended: "What the hell is the meaning of this weird program?" Well, after wasting 13 hours of my life with watching this poorly executed series, I can wholeheartedly say that "Persons Unknown" is just a result of a bad screenwriter who had an idea for a mini series but had no clue how to end the script or what's gonna be the motive for the "bad guys" and that the fact that he is having a severe writer's block shouldn't bother him until he writes the last episode and sends this meaningless case of some imaginary "big brother" kinda organization that rules everyone and everything just for sake of doing it to NBC.

Overall, this is a really time wasting meaningless series, ignore it.

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