We Recommend: Persons Unknown
It’s an interesting prospect to recommend a show that didn’t have the greatest reviews when it was first shown in the States. Possibly fairly so, though I still think there’s a lot to recommend about this 13-episode miniseries. It wasn’t cancelled after its first series, like many quirky genre shows, it was designed to be a 13-episode run. It may offer plenty of mystery, some of which doesn’t reach an entirely successful resolution – but the concept, the journey and the characters make it worth checking out, in my opinion.
Persons Unknown is a conspiracy/mystery show. Seven strangers from a variety of walks of life are snatched from their lives and wake up in individual locked hotel rooms. As they free themselves from the rooms, one-by-one, they discover they’re in a deserted town with no idea how they got there and that they’re being closely monitored on CCTV. There’s one restaurant in town to provide food, empty clothes stores to raid, and an odd hotel manager who seems very good at being professional, but not so great at answering questions. Chances of escape are minimal, as the group quickly discovers, and paranoia quickly sets in.
In the group there’s a couple of ex-military types, one of them, Joe Tucker (Jason Wiles) becomes the de factor leader of the group as he’s the first that works out how to get out of his room. Janet Cooper (Daisy Betts) is single mother with a husband who left her in the middle of the night, she has no idea why she’d be interesting to anyone and has a mother’s desperation to reach her daughter on the outside. Janet’s story is the main one in the show – as we get to meet her husband and watching as he and a colleague start to investigate these mysterious abductions from the outside. Other characters include a devout Muslim ex-Marine, a mental patient with a knowledge of medicine, a privileged party girl and daughter of an American ambassador, a seedy businessman, and CEO of a large investment firm.
Most of the interest of the show is how this diverse group of characters have to deal with one another in a claustrophic, paranoid and engineered situation. And the performances and character in the initial stage really draw in the viewer. Ok, so it may not come to any perfect resolution, do not expect the answer to every question by the end of the show – but there are plenty of answers given and given that it’s being shown in double-bills every Monday, it won’t take up too many weeks to catch it all, either.
Persons Unknown is premieres on Syfy UK on Monday 31st October at 9pm.