Out of this world

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 06 July, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 06 July, 2003, 12:00am

STEVEN SPIELBERG has always had a thing for aliens. He took a good look at alien abductions in Close Encounters Of The Third Kind in 1977, and in 1982 he brought us the the ever-so-sweet alien in E.T. Now he's back on the subject again, this time with a 10-part television series called Taken.

Taken follows the lives of those who are touched - groped and prodded - by aliens. Beginning in 1947 - the famous Roswell incident - the series weaves together the stories of three families over several generations.

Episode one, which premieres tonight at 9pm on Star Movies (Channel 43), opens with American second world war pilot Russell Keys (Steve Burton) being shot at as he flies over Germany. Blue lights on the horizon intercept his plane as it falls to Earth, and the next thing he knows, it's three days later and his wounds are healed. Except for weird flashbacks. The rest of his squadron had a similar experience, but he didn't talk to them about it (typical male), and it isn't until they all start dying that he freaks out.

The story is narrated by seven-year-old Dakota Fanning. Her whining voice is almost as irritating as some of the cutesy philosophical one-liners she delivers, but aside from that, the first episode grabbed me.

The plot might have been Spielberg's idea, and the series was produced by his company Dreamworks, but he called in directors to help him produce it - one for each episode. At a cost of US$40 million (HK$311 million), it is a seriously big budget for a TV show, and the special effects hint at where a lot of the money went.