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NBC's "Believe" is mildly entertaining
March 13, 2014 - Andrea Johnson
When producer JJ Abrams is associated with a television or movie project, I usually expect the result to be somewhat entertaining. Abrams produced the successful Star Trek reboot movie and his name was associated with TV shows I enjoyed such as "Alias" and "Fringe" and others I never got around to watching, like "Lost." But an Abrams show also has a tendency to get bogged down in fantastical details and far-fetched plots if they are on the air for longer than a year or two.
Abrams' latest effort is the show "Believe," which premiered Monday evening on NBC and will air regularly on Sunday nights at 8 p.m.. It is no exception to the rule for an Abrams show, though the show definitely deserves the qualifier "somewhat" I put before "entertaining."
"Believe" is the oft-told tale of a young person with super powers, in this case a 10-year-old girl called Bo (Johnny Sequoia), who might save the world if she can stay out of the clutches of the bad guys long enough. The pilot episode started with a car crash caused by a baddie female assassin who wants to kidnap Bo for her evil corporate boss. Everyone survives the crash, but the female assassin snaps the necks of Bo's foster parents and is about to grab the little girl when a good Samaritan happens by and thwarts her nefarious plan.
Bo is taken to the hospital, where she is sad for about one minute before she uses her freaky psychic powers to discern that her doctor has lost confidence in himself and is about to quit the profession. Bo tries to tell him to believe in himself (a running theme that could become tedious if it continues throughout the series.)
Meanwhile, the mysterious good guys who have been protecting Bo are arranging to break a scruffy looking fellow named Tate (Jake McLaughlin)off death row just 30 minutes before he is due to be executed for a murder he didn't commit. They seem to succeed in this with ridiculous ease. It all has something to do with rosary beads that transmit a signal, a convenient blackout and some jail employees who have been paid off. Free of prison, Tate is dispatched to the hospital to rescue the little girl, who takes an instant dislike to him because he "smells, he's stupid and he has anger issues." Tate thinks she's just a real brat, especially when she runs away from him in an attempt to find out how to help the doctor. More encounters with the evil female assassin ensue and Bo's super powers save the day. She has a supersonic scream that attracts a bunch of pigeons to attack the female assassin. Along the way, she also succeeds in convincing the doctor not to give up medicine.
Bo's protector, Winter (Delroy Lindo) tells the reluctant Tate that Bo is his responsibility now, though Winter and his group will help them avoid both the evil corporation that wants to control her powers and the law enforcement officials who are looking for the escaped death row inmate. Tate and Bo, still arguing, board public transportation for their next destination. Next week's episode will probably include more of the same.
And just why did Winter send Bo off with this questionable fellow? I'm sure anyone who has watched more than one TV show can tell you the predictable answer: Tate just happens to be the little girl's biological father. Neither he or the girl know that yet, but the story will probably be saved for some future sweeps period if the show lasts that long.
Since I doubt that the show will last more than a few episodes, here is my working theory. Winter and the evil corporate boss who wants to use Bo were once business partners but are now foes. That's suspiciously similar to Abrams' last venture, "Fringe," which also had a shady corporation conducting cutting edge science research and two former business partners who used preschoolers in their experiments.
The children in the experiments in "Fringe" were given a drug called cortexiphan that caused psychic powers they couldn't always control. The main character of Fringe was grown-up cortexiphan kid Olivia, who could start fires with her mind, had telekinesis and could walk back and forth between parallel dimensions. Hence, assuming "Believe" has some tie-in to Abrams' other shows, little Bo is probably part of the next generation of cortexiphan kids or maybe the offspring of parents who were part of the original experiment. The evil corporate boss is trying to regain control of his very valuable investment and use Bo's powers to gain more power and influence; Winter thinks those powers can be used for good. I can only hope that's all there is to it and Abrams and his people don't throw in any mystical prophecies or time travel or time paradoxes like in past shows.
Will you watch "Believe" or give it a pass?
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