I’ve mentioned before that lots of shows want to introduce a mystery so they can be the next Lost. FaceBook Watch created a show this year called Limetown, and my notes from the launch notice say “Missing neuroscience community members”. Based on that, I predicted cancellation.
So the basic premise is that a bunch of neuroscientists and their family moved to a remote compound with very little info about what it would focus on or what it was going to do. It had opening day speeches, and lots of talk about the dream. But then sometime later a 911 call comes into a neighbouring area asking for firetrucks, ambulances and police to come, send everything, and to “turn it off”, whatever “it” was. The police and everyone arrived and found a private security force refusing to let anyone in (make a note of this, it’s important later). After three days, they opened the gates. Everyone went in, and found … nobody. Everyone was gone. Well, almost everyone. There was a single body in the square that had been crucified and burned at the stake (well, lamp post actually). But the other 326 people were just gone. Dun dun dun.
Fast forward fifteen years, and the people have never turned up. A journalist is writing a story about the mystery of Limetown that was never solved, and her editor is giving her a hard time about it because there is NOTHING NEW to say. She does have a personal connection to the story because her uncle was one of the people who went there and then disappeared.
So the first episode is about her doing interviews, generally being creepy (she records an audio track of herself having sex with a neighbour and then masturbates later while listening to it), and built into for tension, a flashforward to somebody banging on her door, telling her it’s a warning. Dun, DUN, DUN!
Except here’s the thing. Bottom-line, the people all went into the compound and then they disappeared, and NOBODY knows where they went. Not the FBI, not a journalist who had been there before, etc. Yet there WERE people inside, the security team. Remember I said they would be important? I did say that because they were inside, and wouldn’t let anybody in. But I don’t care who you are, if you are securing a compound, and the FBI shows up at your gate saying someone inside called 911, you’re going to go investigate. You’re going to see everyone is gone, or you’re already going to know they’re gone. Someone had to tell them something to get them to hold the gate. Or why wait 3 days? Regardless, there is an obvious lead there. Yet NO MENTION OF IT anywhere in the episode to explain it away.
In addition, the FBI did discover that under every house was a tunnel that connected to a huge network in the area — 80 miles of caves. So, the journalist rightly asks, “They must have all left through the tunnels, right?” Except there were no tracks to indicate where they went. Okay, but that’s hardly proof. Absence of proof is not proof of absence. So while the show likely intends that the people left through other-worldly means (something to do with dreams), the how is pretty well solved in the normal world — and they all left willingly. Why? That’s a separate issue. The How is solved. More or less. It will unravel, sure, but there’s no mystery for anyone to ask “How did they leave?”. There’s only one option — they left through the tunnels, mystery solved. Maybe not solved correctly, but solved in the eyes of the general public. So why is she writing a story about it?
The premise is interesting — a whole town disappeared — but there are too many plot holes there to take it seriously enough to watch.
On the acting side, Jessica Biel is a long way from 7th Heaven days, but honestly, she seems like she’s on meds the whole show. Numb, non-reactive, staring, little animation in her face or body. Yawn. Her uncle is played by Stanley Tucci, but there is very little of him to see in Ep1, so no idea if he has anything to do later (nothing really in Ep1). She has a partner writer assigned to her, and he does nothing but act dazed and confused (Omar Elba). Her editor is played by Sherri Saum but her role is minimal too. So overall, pretty bland in Ep1. If they didn’t add in the flash-forward to someone freaking out and banging on her door, you might not even finish watching the episode. It was the only ACTION in the whole show.
I’m sticking with cancellation as my prediction, and even that is generous.