Fall TV Preview 2006: Vanished

theTVaddict.com is thrilled to welcome a new contributing editor onboard, Richard Michaels. Richard is theTVaddict’s newest TV Insider, a man so ‘in-the-know’ that he’s already seen most of the Fall 2006 TV pilots. That said, here’s the first of his Fall TV Previews for 2006.

You’ve seen the ads. You’ve heard the hype. Now there’s only one thing you want to know: Which of the new fall shows are worth watching and which should be avoided at all costs? In this continuing series, we’re going to give you the scoop on some of the most highly anticipated shows coming down the pike. Which will be the next Gilmore Girls or Lost? And just as importantly, which will be the new Joey? This week, we sneak a peek at the new Fox drama, VANISHED.

When it’s on: Mondays at 9 p.m. on Fox, debuting August 21

What’s it about: Think a really, really, really long episode of Without A Trace

Who’s in it: Gale Harold (Queer As Folk), John Allen Nelson (24)

The twist: The MIA wife of a senator may not be who everyone thought she was.

Hit or miss: Another serialized drama in the vein of 24 and Prison Break, this time focused on the investigation surrounding the disappearance of a beauty named Sara Collins. All the required elements are here: the haunted FBI agent haunted by his past; the intrepid reporter who’ll stop at nothing to get the story; the scandal-ridden clan with more secrets than Imelda has shoes; and a plot which, in the first hour, takes several dramatic and supposedly unexpected twists. Unfortunately, the cast is lackluster at best, the twists are other predictable or ridiculous and the entire mess seems contrived at best. Rather than giving us time to get to know the various characters (ala 24), Vanished wants to throw caution – and logic – to the wind, hoping that we’ll be so enthralled by each new development (and there are several in the first hour) that we’ll fail to notice that we’re getting quantity without quality.

The competition: Oddly, this time slot is now filled with serialized dramas thanks to CW’s Runaways, Fox’s Heroes and the six-nights-a-week wild card whose impact may be felt by all the networks, Fashion House. Throw in the fading but female-friendly franchise The Bachelor and CBS’s strong comedy line-up (Two and a Half Men and The New Adventures of New Christine) – not to mention ESPN’s Monday Night Football – and it seems likely that Vanished will live up to its title in record time.

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