NBC's new take on Taken is finally here.
Vikings' Clive Standen stars as Bryan Mills - aka young Liam Neeson - a former Green Beret who must cope with a great personal tragedy while simultaneously adjusting to his new job as a CIA operative. But that's only the half of it! Whether you're a fan of the original Taken trilogy or just intrigued by the prospect of a new, serialized thriller, here's everything you need to know about the Taken TV series.
It's from the same producer: Luc Besson, who wrote and produced the original trilogy, is an executive producer on the series. According to fellow executive producers Alex Cary and Matt Gross, Besson wanted to be more involved in TV adaptations of his work after the CW's Nikita and Transporter: The Series. "He has steered us in a direction that I think will be loyal and faithful to his original vision in the movies, but he has not limited himself in a way," Cary said.
It's not a reboot or a prequel: This is where the Taken series gets confusing: It's Liam Neeson's character from the movies only 30 years younger, but it's also set in present day. That means it isn't a straight-forward prequel to the trilogy, but the show isn't really a reboot either. It's still telling the origin story of the movie version of Bryan Mills, despite the fact that both Liam Neeson Bryan and Clive Standen Bryan reside in present day. It's all very confusing, so just don't ask questions and accept the timey-wimey premise.
Bryan is still out to avenge a young woman: Before Bryan wrought havoc on the people who took his daughter, he apparently wrought havoc on the people who killed his younger sister. Before the events of the series began, Bryan killed big-time criminal Mejia's son during a military raid gone wrong, and now Mejia is out for revenge. Bryan's sister Cali (Celeste Desjardins) is a casualty of this vengeance, sending Bryan on his own vengeance mission against Mejia. It's basically an ouroboros of revenge.
Bryan falls in with a motley crew: After his business with Mejia catches the eyes of a secret CIA faction run by Jennifer Beals' Christina Hart, Bryan becomes the organization's latest recruit. But this isn't some noble band of soldiers. They aren't above using innocent people as bait and threatening murder - or worse - to get what they need. However, the morally ambiguous group does get bonus points for having Friday Night Lights alum Gaius Charles play one of the operatives.
There's a lot of action: Despite being the newbie on the team, Bryan manages to find himself playing a crucial role in nearly every major operation. That leads to some intense action sequences - most of which Standen performs himself. "I do all of my own stunts, apart from some of the car stunts, because they're just frankly too dangerous, and I try to drive like Jason Bourne in my real life anyway," he joked to ET. "But I do it — not because I have an adrenaline rush — but because I want the camera to be on my face, rather than the back of my head."
Bryan is still learning his very particular set of skills: As Bryan warns in the first film, he has a "very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career." What the Taken series aims to do is not only show how Bryan became the hardened man we see in the films, but also exactly how he developed and honed that very particular set of skills. That means that as badass as Bryan is in the show, he hasn't quite reached Liam Neeson levels yet.
They aren't above in-jokes: Even though a Taken newbie could appreciate the series without issue, the writers aren't above sprinkling in little Easter eggs for movie fans. When facing off against an enemy in the premiere, Bryan is given the following advice: "Don't ever have kids - especially not a daughter." Yuck, yuck, yuck. That's what we call foreshadowing, people!
Taken premieres Monday at 10/9c on NBC.