by Chris Lovato
“She’s a very special little girl.”
In a society with doomsday prophecies, fortune tellers, and alien abduction, one might find it hard to think that there’s something else out there, but in the world of Oscar-winning director Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity), that’s all about to change. Cuarón has teamed up with renowned producer J.J. Abrams and NBC to bring us the mid-season premiere of Believe.
Surrounded by inexplicable phenomena since birth, Bo spent her childhood shuttling between foster homes; in reality, on the run from people who want to take her away. Although unknown to her, Milton Winter is more than familiar with Roman Skouras, a powerful businessman and his associates, and has resolved to use every resource at his disposal to keep Bo out of Skouras’ clutches. Unfortunately for Winter, Skouras’ assassins kill Bo’s foster parents to get to her, so to help in this effort; he recruits Tate, a death row inmate. Although a loose cannon, an inexplicable connection to the girl causes him to join the cause, albeit with much objection: to keep Bo safe and reveal her to the world, at just the right moment.
Johnny Sequoyah brings a tenacity and precociousness to Bo that I haven’t seen in a child actor in quite a while, and one might find her gift a bit unnerving. It pierces through the innocent childlike demeanor seen when Bo’s reunited with Winter and lets the viewer know that Bo sees things that can’t be seen…or aren’t wanted to be seen. Jake McLaughin (Crash, TV Series) plays Tate, and like Gabriel Vaughan of NBC’s recent ventures (Intelligence), he’s a livewire who’s brought into a situation against his will, but recognizes the importance of the mission bestowed upon him. Delroy Lindo (The Chicago Code) is Winter, a good-hearted man who harbors secrets of his own, and this reviewer was very happy to see Once Upon a Time’s Jamie Chung as Channing, one of Winter’s associates. Rounding out the cast is Kyle MacLachlan, of Desperate Housewives and Twin Peaks fame, as Skouras, and he positively drips sleaze.
Although the CGI isn’t quite up to par with Intelligence, the things Bo is able to do because of it are pretty impressive. Perhaps the most intriguing aspect is the animals (butterflies and pigeons, to name a few) and how they seem to surround Bo, even if they weren’t able to be seen before. Her more offensive abilities are quite impressive (to get an idea, watch the series trailer online). Believe doesn’t offer spectacular sets, but the familiarity of city environments allows the series to focus on vamping up the story and taking us along the twists and turns.
Overall, Believe definitely smacks of Cuarón’s artistic flair, but like Intelligence, NBC doesn’t seem to be straying from character formulas across series. If you’re looking for a deeper supernatural show to watch while you’re waiting for your favorite shows to air every week, definitely give this series a try.
Catch Believe on NBC, Sundays at 9/8 Central.
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