‘Finding Carter’ is, improbably, a pointed uncover about kidnapping

July 10, 2014 - Finding Carter

There’s something appealingly retro about MTV’s latest scripted offering—and not usually because Finding Carter bears a distinguished similarity to Caroline B. Cooney’s dear 1990 novel The Face on a Milk Carton. (You competence know it improved as a inspiration for a TV movie that aired in 1995).


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These days, shows for and about teenagers tend to fall into one of dual categories: a Ryan Murphy-esque dramedy (high-energy, dripping with cocktail enlightenment references, swapping extravagantly between irony and sincerity; see MTV’s possess Faking It or Awkward. for examples), or the Gossip Girl-ian glitzy melodrama (think absolved kids who don’t act like tangible teenagers, removing into difficulty and sleeping with any other; Pretty Little Liars is a stream customary bearer). The commander partial of Finding Carter, though, is conjunction self-consciously hip nor glamorously soapy; a discourse is straightforward, a thespian elements are understated, and a characters are good looking in a low-key approach rather than being law CW hotties. I’d review a outcome to ABC Family’s new unreasonable of family dramas (Switched during Birth, The Fosters), though they’re a tiny some-more after-school-special-y than Carter; some-more than anything, actually, a new uncover resembles an early ’00s teen drama, like South of Nowhere or Caitlin’s Way. (The comparison creates clarity if you’ve listened of possibly of those shows, we swear.)

Which is a good thing. Carter‘s comparatively practical tone—plus a strong, grounded opening by Kathryn Prescott—gives a show a clarity of flawlessness that helps lessen a sudsier elements. The simple gist: After committing a sparse crime, teenage Carter (Prescott, before of a U.K. Skins) discovers that she was indeed kidnapped as a toddler and lifted by her abductor (Milena Govich). In brief order, she’s ripped divided from a life she’s always famous and reintroduced to a biological family she never knew: determined mom Elizabeth (Cynthia Watros of Lost), a investigator who but could never solve a box of her blank daughter; good man father David (Alexis Denisof), who done a packet by essay about Carter’s disappearance and competence usually be tempted to write a sequel; twin sister Taylor (puzzlingly played by Anna Jacoby-Heron instead of Prescott’s real-life twin sister, who also seemed on Skins), who’s usually a minute bit distressing from flourishing adult in her absent sister’s shadow; and ignored younger hermit Grant (Zac Pullam), substantially a many keen chairman in a whole family.

There’s copiousness of play to be mined from this luscious premise—and for a many part, partial one of Carter manages to do so but deviate too distant into Lifetime Original territory. There are, however, a few tiny tract nuggets that indicate during nonessential complications to come down a line. First and foremost: Elizabeth’s carrying an event with a hunky associate officer… who also happens to be a father of Taylor’s best friend, Gabe. And Taylor is personally in adore with Gabe. And Gabe is not-so-secretly into Carter. There’s also a matter of Carter’s feign mom, who escapes a clutches of military control usually to cocktail adult again usually prolonged adequate to tell Carter that there are things her “daughter” doesn’t know, “things [she] should know,” about her past—not to discuss a montage of destiny scenes that indicates things could get really absurd really quickly; there’s a lot of yelling, and kissing, and thespian exiting as song swells.

It wouldn’t be really startling to see Carter go off a rails, even in partial two; MTV, after all, is not a network known for subtlety. But if Carter can welcome a things that make a commander work so well—and stick to a low-key ’00s roots—it competence turn something that’s been sorely missing from a tiny shade for awhile: A teen-centric play that doesn’t feel like a guilty pleasure, even to those examination it prolonged after a end of their possess adolescence. And hey, if all else fails, during slightest we’ll always have The Face on a Milk Carton books. (Did we know a series’ fifth and final installment was usually released in January 2013?)

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