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Unforgettable focuses on Detective Carrie Wells (Poppy Montgomery) who has a rare medical condition called hyperthymesia, which allows Wells to remember everything that she sees. Carrie remembers everything...except for who murdered her sister when she was a child.
Created by John Belluci and Ed Redlich (Without a Trace).
The show aired on CBS in the US and on Sky Living in the UK.
Unforgettable attempts to put a new spin on the rather overdone crime procedural with the introduction of the rare condition hyperthymesia. Only 20 people have been diagnosed with this condition which shows just how unusual it is. Whilst this gives the show something different, every other aspect of the show is exactly what you would expect from a police drama.
The two lead characters Carrie Wells (Montgomery) and Al Burns (Dylan Walsh) have a romantic history which (quite predictably) is not 100% in the past. Both Walsh (Nip/Tuck) and Montgomery (Without a Trace) are good choices, both capable of heading the show, both attractive enough to be popular with the key 18-49 audience in the US. Watching the opening few episodes it seemed that it would be very much a duo led show with equal emphasis put on each character. However as the season progresses it becomes more and more about Carrie Wells, with Al Burns getting dropped into the minor supporting characters pack, which I'm sure is not what Walsh signed on for.
Poppy Montgomery starred in Without a Trace and the creators of Unforgettable worked on Without a Trace. So I'm guessing they are fans of hers, but the show suffers by having a massive focus on one character with 4-6 supporting characters. The support get so little time that it's hard to even remember their names to be honest, after watching the whole season I still can't name them. This is one way in which Unforgettable drops in line with all the other crime-of-the-week shows out there, the characters are totally forgettable (ironic given the show's title). The writers pop in some 'funny' dialogue between the characters in an attempt to give them some character but it fails as they are only in a tenth of an episode. If the show isn't meant to be an ensemble drama, fine, just don't add so many characters with such poorly defined roles.
I do think Poppy Montgomery is good as the lead; she has clearly bought into the role and is working hard to make the show a success. The writing is just a little sloppy with predictable set ups for her hyperthymesia to kick in and save the day. What annoyed me a lot about the show is that the characters would ignore potential clues that the viewer can spot easily, just so they can do the memory trick. For example, someone drops a load of letters on the floor, Wells helps her pick them up not thinking to have a little look at where they came from...until 30 minutes later in the shows runtime when she remembers she saw something. I was shouting at the TV, literally, so many times throughout the season. The writers must think the viewers are pretty dumb.
I did like the way that Unforgettable showed Carrie going back to what she had seen before. Carrie has a sort of out of body experience so she can see everything that she saw before from any angle. It was better than just seeing a few flashbacks every now and then. I thought the show took a few liberties though as it seemed at times as if Carrie was remembering things she hadn't actually seen. She did a lot of spinning round throughout the season to stop people like me being picky but I'm pretty sure she was seeing through the back of her head at times, which I don't believe is part of the condition...
As I have mentioned before the rest of the cast are pushed back into the shadows somewhat. I loved Dylan Walsh in Nip/Tuck so I was disappointed to see him given so little to do. His role basically turns into telling Carrie not to do things which he knows she is going to do and then acting surprised that she went against his orders. It was a pattern that grated a lot.
The supporting characters are given fragments of storylines throughout the season but really it's just filler with no real characterisation happening. The introduction of Jane Curtin (3rd Rock from the Sun) as ME Joanne Webster, towards the end of the season was a good move. Finally a character with a bit of life! I liked that the show managed to get Marilu Henner from Taxi to guest star as she actually has hyperthymesia, the portrayal of the condition must be pretty good if she was willing to be on the show.
Unforgettable balances self-contained episodes with longer running arcs which I like and it is something the show did quite well. Personally I think the CSI franchise is the god of telling a story in a single episode but Unforgettable doesn't do too badly, it never seemed too rushed like in so many other procedurals. The main arc in the show is the death of Wells' sister at a young age which triggered the hyperthymesia in Carrie and tortures her every day as it is the one thing she can't remember. I liked how that storyline played out if at times it was a little predictable.
Unforgettable was initially cancelled by CBS despite decent ratings, but then was picked up again as a summer series to be shown in 2013. This gives it a chance to improve and it will need to in order to get renewed again even with the lighter summer schedule. I would drop some of the characters who are quite frankly pointless. This would allow the remaining characters to be given more airtime, this way I might finally learn their names. Don't get me wrong I did enjoy Unforgettable it just annoys me when a show wastes a decent idea and a good cast with lazy writing. I'll watch the second season to see if any changes are made now they have been given a second chance, if not then I doubt it will last much longer.
Poppy Montgomery - Carrie Wells
Dylan Walsh - Detective Al Burns
Michael Gaston - Mike Costello
Kevin Rankin - Roe Saunders
Daya Vaidya - Nina Inara
Britt Lower - Tanya Sitkowsky
Jane Curtin - Joanne Webster
Episodes: 22 (approx. 43 minutes an episode)
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