Review: NBC Premier of “Believe”

 Review: NBC Premier of Believe

Believe is a TV show about a young girl with psychokinetic powers who is on the run from some unidentified (corporate/government?) baddies while being protected by a hoodlum with longish hair who was recruited La Femme Nikita style  from prison.  I tend to be intrigued by the idea of someone who by all appearances should be fairly vulnerable, like a young girl, that has superhuman powers or can kick ass in general like, say, Hit Girl.  Like that film Let the Right One In or the American version Let Me In about the young girl vampire, it’s fascinating to see for some reason. It’s like the ultimate underdog story.

A lot of the newer TV shows lately have been casting some major big screen firepower to ramp up viewership. Almost Human stars Karl Urban. True Detective has Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. But while I wouldn’t quite call Believe’s cast A-list, they have managed to wrangle Delroy Lindo, who’s appeared in many films and TV shows including voiceovers for The Simpsons and Up,  brought back Kyle McLaughlan (Dune) virtually back from the netherworld, and of course Hollywood’s favorite image of every kind of Asian imaginable, Jamie Chung (Sucker Punch).

Then we have the show’s director Alfonso Cuaron who just won an Oscar for Gravity. He is executive producing the show with JJ Abrams for Warner Brothers/Bad Robot. JJ Abrams also has a hand in Almost Human, a show which I love so I figured, how can they possibly go wrong? How indeed….

All things considered, when it comes down to it, you can have the best actors, the best directions, producers, soundtrack, etc… but if the writing isn’t good, then what do you have? It’s like all frosting and no cake. This is not to say that Believe is a bunch of fluff. It actually has a lot of potential as a show. Many successful series start off a little rocky while the actors and the producers are finding their bearings and figuring things out. Have you seen the early episodes of Friends?

But this show is not meant to be a sitcom so they really need to watch those moments of unintentional humor.  Like why is the ex-con so haggard looking when they break him out of prison? Who is he, the Count of Monte Cristo? And why is there a trap door in the floor of the hallway that leads to a sewer that conveniently empties outside? Wouldn’t that be like a jailbreaker’s dream?

Then there’s the scene when the ex-con Tate, played by Jake McLaughlin (Savages, La Noire) was abducting/rescuing the little girl “Bo”  from the hospital. Jamie Chung and her two anonymous cohorts (who spend a lot of time in a van watching TV monitors with headphones on) wheel Tate in to the emergency room on a gurney all in a hurry like EMTs and once inside, they take off one way while Tate gets up and hurries off in another direction hiding his face from some cops running by. None of the background extras notice, of course; they’re too busy doing emergency room stuff while Tate makes his way into the hospital…. Meanwhile, some hitwoman named Leeds who’s wearing a white lab coat like she’s a doctor is also lurking in the halls.

Like hospitals are so hard to get into? Like there’s metal detectors and armed guards everywhere? No. Anyone can walk into a friggin hospital. You can even walk into ICU without so much as a second glance. So what’s with all the charades? Then when Leeds and Tate confront each other and start fighting, Bo finds an unattended cart of pharmaceuticals, grabs a syringe and skin pops Leeds in the ass. Lucky for Bo and Tate, there was some muscle relaxer in the syringe and not diabetic medicine or they would’ve been SOL.

But it doesn’t end there… Once the drugs start to take effect, Leeds is walking around the halls waving around a gun with a silencer and almost falling over like a drunk Terminator or something, while Tate and Bo are hiding in a cabinet. Once the coast is clear, they climb out what looks to be a 3rd story window and make their way down to a bus.

All that said, I still think the show has potential. I like the idea of the little girl with these as of yet unexplained super human powers. So far, they’ve only showed her floating stuff and causing atmospheric disturbances but I have a feeling she might hone or develop her talents, either that or just let them loose, and who knows what’s in store for us then? She seems to be something of a Dark Phoenix. Did I mention she’s psychic and knows stuff, too?

I don’t know how much longer Believe will be on the air, given the bad reviews it’s getting, but I’m still going to give it a chance. You can watch the entire episode right now on IMDB. Next week it moves to the Sunday 8pm time slot. Good thing, too, because The Walking Dead comes on at 9….

Believe Trailer

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