Believe Series Premiere — TV EPISODE REVIEW

NBC’s new TV series “Believe”, brought to you by J.J. Abrams (Lost) and Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity)

Believe is a new show that premiered on NBC. It is an odd mix of different things. It has a mystery element, a procedural element, and also a good vs bad element. Now, this show is about a girl with what seems to be some special powers and the people who have to protect her. At the start of the show, we see a little girl named Bo (played by Johnny Sequoyah) get into a car accident with her foster parents. And we see that people are after her. They want her for…reasons. We don’t know what they are but we assume their intentions aren’t exactly noble. Especially when these people killed her foster parents to get to her. They were unsuccessful the first time though.

This show is brought to us by two of my favorite directors, J.J. Abrams and Alfonso Cuarón. Abrams, of course, was responsible for Lost, which is one of my favorite TV shows of all time; and Cuarón is responsible for two of my favorite films, Gravity and Children of Men. This team-up took my interest from the get-go. What sci-fi fan wouldn’t love the team up of the minds behind Lost and Gravity? I love it.

The premise is solid. I am already interested in this little girl’s life and just what exactly is going on with her. We’ve all seen that scene on the NBC promo where she screams and a freaking ton of birds come swarming in. Yeah, that scene is even more badass in the actual episode. It is actually that promo that made me want to watch it. With the awesome use of a different version of “In the Air Tonight” by Phil Collins, I was hooked.

This show does have it’s issues though. But, what pilot doesn’t? I think they just tried to cram too much into one episode. The idea of the show is that a group is trying to protect this little girl. And to do that, they spring a convicted felon from prison; one who was to be executed that day in fact. They give him the burden of protecting this girl and he, even though he won’t admit, knows from the moment he meets her that she is special. She affects him and everyone else around her. They keep saying that she is special and I believe it. But some of the issues are things that can be easily fixed and some, not so easy. I think they use conveniences too much to forward the plot. Too many things don’t happen that normally would in order for them to get away. That can be fixed. I think the villains are rather weak. We have a badass killer chick with nothing to her other than that she can fight and a rich guy who apparently has ulterior motives. The rich guy, played here by How I Met Your Mother’s “The Captain (Kyle MacLachlan), is apparently a former partner of one of the main good guys; the cool black guy with the awesome voice, Delroy Lindo of Get Shorty and Gone in 60 Seconds fame. The villains, right now, are weak. But we don’t know really anything yet.

Now we get to the BIG problem. I don’t buy the main character, Tate. He gets sprung from prison and before that happens, he’s already spewing forced lines of how he was set up because he trusted his friends. Yeah, we don’t care. We care about the girl. Don’t throw too many plotlines into a show just for shits and giggles. This guy is the typical good guy. A gruff bad boy, who is muscular and automatically knows how to fight the badass chick who knows some awesome fighting moves. Typical stuff. He doesn’t want to be there then is convinced, then changes his mind, then gives in, yada yada yada. I don’t buy him in the role. He needs to cut that hair, which I know he does before the next episode. But still, ridiculous. He forces lines way too often. He seems like a decent actor otherwise, just don’t give him so much to do at once. Not only does he have to protect this girl, but the also has to convince us to care about a conspiracy against him by his friends. I didn’t care and I’d be shocked by those who did.

It may seem like I’m ragging on this show too much, but I’m not. I’m recognizing it’s flaws in hope of them being fixed soon. Bad acting and too much plot in one episode can easily be fixed. If they recognize that they are problems. Now to the girl. Bo is freaking adorable. She is completely believable in this role. They poured all of the good writing into her character and you can tell. She is smart, innocent, and kind. I will compare this to The Blacklist. The writing for James Spader’s character Red Reddington is always phenomenal, but when he isn’t on screen, I don’t care because the characters and writing aren’t that great. Same thing here. They focus on her and the rest isn’t that important. She reminds me of an even younger version of Chloë Grace Moretz. Witty and adorable. People should watch this show just for her. The rest of the cast is okay. Delroy Lindo is that cool guy with the badass voice. Jamie Chung needs more to do. She could be interesting but as of now, that isn’t the case.

And we can tell this is going to be a procedural, which is a shame because I’m interested in the overall arc and mystery of this girl. I get that she needs to save random people, but I care more about her and why she is the way she is. Also, I’m curious as to what all she can do. I’m not sure she even knows everything she is capable of. It seems like others do because they keep calling her “very important”. She must hold another purpose. Something had to have caused her to have these gifts. The banter between her and Tate is excellent. Just the procedural side story was meh.

But I will keep watching. This little girl has me hooked and I want to see where this goes. I’m sure Abrams and Cuarón have something up their sleeve. Right now, it seems too basic to catch their attention. But for the time being, I will continue to “Believe” in the show and it’s creators. It’s already a good show that could be even better if they fix a few things.

WHAT I LIKED:

+: Johnny Sequoyah is perfect as the innocent Bo

+: Combination of Cuarón, Abrams, and Steven Price (composer for Gravity) continues to excite me

+: A good mystery surrounding the girl

+: Delroy Lindo

+: Forming an emotional connection right from the get-go. This happened more than once.

+: Good supporting players…..

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE:

-:….that could be used a lot better

-: Too much plot for one episode; seemed muddled

-: Weak villains…for now

-: Flat acting from the main character

-: Too many “conveniences” to forward the plot

OVERALL

8.0

B- (Good)

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