Well-Made Mysteries Aren't Afraid to Be Quiet
Biography Channel's new unscripted series The Unexplained (Saturday, 10pm) may, at first, give you the impression it's one of countless, nondescript shows where psychics try to intuit clues about a crime or unsolved mystery.
The Unexplained, in a way, is that type of show. But it's so much better than that, too.
The Unexplained, from executive producer Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity), is a stylistic, beautifully made half-hour show that has the confidence to allow its stories to unfold quietly, at their own pace. That sets the mood that lulls viewers into its tales.
The first of this weekend's back-to-back episodes - Disappearance at Dead Man's Curve, is by far the better of the two. One night, a young man, Shane Fell, and his brother were out playing pool and drinking in New Orleans. The brothers parted ways. One made it home. Shane flipped his car. His car was found but he wasn't.
The Unexplained has a psychic come out to piece together incredible clues that strongly suggest that Shane didn't die but may be suffering from a brain injury, and living on neighborhood streets.
That story is incredible but so is the way The Unexplained tells is - quiet, confident, moody and somewhat creepy as the psychic follows her visions to the dark, wet, scary side of town.
The second episode, My Mysterious Seizures, is less compelling but no less well made. A single mom of three boys is suffering from seizures that she believes are the result of a 400-year-old curse.
Hopefully, The Unexplained won't get lost in a crowd of similar shows that aren't nearly as good.