The Missing: A Starz Limited Series (Blu-ray Review)

The MissingWhen five year-old Oliver Hughes disappears while on holiday in France, it sets off a nearly decade-long search for his whereabouts. “The Missing,” a STARZ Limited Series, is a dramatic thriller that takes you inside the mind of a father, Tony (played by James Nesbitt of The Hobbit trilogy and Jekyll), desperate to locate his lost son. With help from a legendary detective (played by Tchéky Karyo of Goldeneye and The Patriot), Tony embarks on an obsessive quest to find his son and those responsible for his disappearance. A gripping puzzle with twists and turns at every stage, Tony’s exhaustive search fractures his relationship with his wife, Emily (played by Frances O’Connor of “Mr. Selfridge” and A.I.: Artificial Intelligence), and threatens to destroy his life. Told through a complex narrative, “The Missing” unfolds over two time frames simultaneously. 


The Missing

The Series 

The Missing is STARZ’s limited series and it’s about a family torn apart by the disappearance of their young son while vacationing in France. Tony (James Nesbitt) and his wife Emily (Frances O’Connor) are perplexed as to how the young boy, Oliver, could have disappeared. One minute he’s with his father and the next he’s vanished into thin air.

This sets of a chain of events where legendary Detective Julien Baptiste is brought in to head the investigation. First things first: the parents must be ruled out as suspects and when that happens Baptiste uses some very clever police tactics to try and get to the bottom of the case. He enlists other high power figures in law enforcement and he uses the media to dangle tidbits of crucial information in order to locate a suspect or to gather up some information that they may not have.

The Missing does utilize some creative editing in that we jump forward and backward at any given moment, which threw me off a bit in some spots. They never really did anything to make you think time had passed or not in terms of fashion or age. I should also point out that we do have a bit of a Hobbit reunion here. James Nesbitt and Ken Stott played dwarves in that trilogy but in this series Nesbitt plays the father of the missing boy and Stott is a wealthy business owner who also puts his influence to use by offering monetary help to find young Oliver.

On a production and technical The Missing is great. It was shot on location in Europe and utilized the scenery really well. There’s just something about it that I didn’t care for and it may have to do with Nesbitt’s portrayal of Tony. Tony is likable if he’s quiet and being helpful but when he gets angry or upset he becomes quite unlikable and drags everyone else down with him. Yes, I understand his circumstance but Tony needs to chill, because he can be quite a dick sometimes and he really doesn’t care who he hurts or gets hurt by his actions.

The moniker for this series is “limited” but on IMDB there is a listing for a second series but I don’t know if it will have anything to do with this series or if they’re going the True Detective route. In any event if there is a second series then I will watch it. I was satisfied with this production even though it did have its quibbles. Please be warned that the material is very bleak and dreary. The fact that they shot it under overcast skies only enhances the dread. Give it a go if you’re so inclined.


The Missing


Encoding: AVC/MPEG-4

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Clarity/Detail: The Missing has a very dark and dreary transfer but it retains lots of details and there is a lovely layer of grain throughout. Sharpness and contrast levels are also kept on the more natural side of things. I did not notice any postproduction tampering.

Depth: There is a certain level of pop but it isn’t the typical kind. It’s the more “I need to grab a blanket and curl up for this” type of pop. The transfer is a cold one and it really conveys the mood.

Black Levels: Crush and compression were not a problem – black levels were deep and inky.

Color Reproduction: The color palette is a very muted one – on the rare occasion that the sun is up colors will leap from the screen.

Flesh Tones: Flesh tones are natural for the most part. A few of the characters could use a tan but other than that everyone looks like they’re in good health.

Noise/Artifacts: Noise and artifacts were not a problem.

The Missing


Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD 5.1

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

Dynamics: The Missing is a very dynamic show using most of what France has to offer in its backdrop. The lossless audio on this Blu-ray set handles everything that it is thrown at it with relative ease. It’s a well-rounded audio track and we really can’t ask for anything more than that.

Low Frequency Extension: The LFE channel does hang back for the majority of the show but it does kick it up a notch during thee action scenes and the one or two scenes of “horror” where they add a bit of bass to enhance the proceedings.

Surround Sound Presentation: Ambience is handled relatively well, with occasional bursts of action during police raids, etc.

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue levels are clean, clear, and crisp. I did not detect any anomalies with regards to the dialogue levels and settings.



The Missing


The extras on this Blu-ray are paltry to say the least. We get three featurettes that last no more than two minutes each.

  • Behind the Scenes (HD)
  • Transformations (HD)
  • Time Changes All (HD)


The Missing


The Missing is a great mini-series in terms of technical merit but it’s just a real bleak show that didn’t really do anything for me at the end. The Blu-ray has good video and audio and special features that drag it down a bit. If you’re curious about the show then I would suggest a rental first.



The Missing was released on Blu-ray & DVD April 14th!


The Missing


Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

1 Response to “The Missing: A Starz Limited Series (Blu-ray Review)”

  1. Cash

    one of my favourite recent television shows to be sure 🙂