[Contains papery butterflies and SPOILERS!!!]
Of course, it’s often foolhardy to judge a TV series solely on the basis of its pilot (even though that’s actually what they’re made for, from an industry perspective)… but I’ve just watched the first episode of NBC’s upcoming supernatural action show Believe, and can honestly say it’s one of the shoddiest things I’ve seen since the swiftly-cancelled Cult. I actually had to keep checking the company logo in the corner of the screen, to convince myself that this was the product of a major network, rather than some straight-to-DVD schlock I’d picked up cheap in a charity shop! Not only is the central premise utterly ridiculous in itself, it also runs dangerously close to the plot of the (universally derided) Elektra movie…
The silliness starts with ‘Winter’, the weirdly-cheerful head of a secret organisation dedicated to protecting ‘Bo’, a young girl with extraordinary psychic powers, deciding to spring ‘Tate’, a wrongly-convicted “murderer”, from death row to act as her bodyguard… despite the fact that partnering her with a wanted jailbird is only going to add to the number of people chasing her, and make it even harder for her to live incognito! I laughed out loud at the tossed-off reveal that the show’s reluctant, roguish hero is also the girl’s biological father… then I groaned, because, c’mon, seriously!? The script was trying way too hard to establish Bo and Tate as a loveable odd-couple, with all their chummy bickering and banter… which made them seem like total idiots in the process. I found the teasing jokes about Tate getting “beaten up by a girl” particularly grating because he wasn’t “beaten up by a girl”… he was attacked by a highly-skilled and motivated assassin (‘Moore’), who happened to be female. Considering the fact she was the same hitwoman who’d broken the necks of the girl’s former foster parents like they were dry twigs, I’d say he was damn lucky to survive the fight at all! Presumably there’s a reason why Bo’s incredible mind-reading/fortune-telling powers don’t work when they might actually protect her and her friends from harm? A reason besides bad writing, I mean.
As for the cast… Johnny Sequoyah was very good as the angelic and slightly oblivious ‘Bo’… I mean, I found her character annoying as hell, but that’s all down to the writing, not her acting. Meanwhile, the gorgeous Jamie Chung is wasted as Winter’s (and Tate’s) mildly feisty side-chick. Hopefully they’ll both go on to much bigger and better things once this show is cancelled (after five… maybe six episodes?). Sadly, Sienna Guillory’s performance as the mother-lovin’ ‘Moore’ was rather patchy, and I wasn’t too surprised to learn that she’d since been written out of the series (though the Hollywood Reporter’s article insists her acting had nothing to do with her exit).
Out of curiosity, I did a quick Google search to see if anyone else was discussing the show, and found that some peeps enjoyed it a lot more than I did… in fact, a site called Exclaim awarded it 8/10, and ended their review with the rather hyperbolic suggestion that “should the series continue to explore deeper human truths while serving up the same level of action and entertainment demonstrated in the pilot, Believe could prove to be one of the best shows on television.” Crikey!
So, maybe I’m waaay off base here? Judge for yourselves when the show debuts on March 16th, 9:00 pm!