Starring: Dakota Fanning, Joel Gretsch, Eric Close & Julie Benz
Universal Pictures Video
RRP: £49.99
Certificate: 15
Available now

The lives of three families are woven together over four generations and their crucial roles in the history of alien encounters is unearthed as mankind discovers it is not alone...

Set against the backdrop of more than 50 years of American history, Taken tells the human story of the Keys, Crawford and Clarke families. From the skies over France in 1945 to the modern day accounts of alien abductions, the story is an awe-inspiring look at the lives of three ordinary families who experience the extraordinary. When the secrets of the decades begin to unravel, all three families must come together to unlock the shocking mysteries that have plagued them for generations.

But are the visitors to our world here to study or conquer us? This is the question that is left hanging in the air until the very last episode. You'd think, with Steven Spielberg involved with this project, that the answer would be simple: That the aliens are fluffy bunnies who want to help us... But their involvement with mankind appears to be ambiguous and I'm certainly not going to spoil the ending for you.

This series has an incredibly well woven plot with an impressive cast and special effects to match. From the opening scene - during a WWII bombing raid - I was extremely impressed with the use of visual effects.

This series gives the nod here and there to Spielberg's previous otherworldly productions. The alien craft and road block scenes are very Close Encounters of the Third Kind and there is more than a whiff of E.T. with Allie (the half human, half alien child) using special powers and then becoming sick - she even wears a red fleece with a hood like ET did.

There are plenty of sci-fi actors signed up to the series including: Adam Kaufman (Buffy); Matt Frewer (Max Headroom); Heather Donahue (The Blair Witch Project); Joel Gretsch (Minority Report); Julie Benz (Buffy/Angel's Darla); Willie Garson (Martin Lloyd in Stargate SG-1); and Eric Close (Dark Skies).

The DVD release also includes Inside Taken, a behind-the-scenes look at how the show was brought to life. This 40+ minute documentary includes interviews with the cast and crew, including Steven Spielberg, and behind the scenes and special effects footage. But it didn't seem enough - not when there was a whole disc to play with! Not only that, but this documentary was meant as a teaser for the series, so it doesn't really tell us that much and we are not even allowed to see the aliens.

If you just want the episodes, then this collection is great. Just don't expect any real extras and you'll come away happy.

A worthwhile purchase - the lack of any real extras stop this release from receiving the full 10/10.

Darren Rea

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