A relationship forms between a gifted young girl and a man sprung from prison who has been tasked with protecting her from the evil elements that hunt her power.
Creators: Alfonso Cuarón, Mark Friedman
Stars: Johnny Sequoyah, Jake McLaughlin, Delroy Lindo
NBC’s Believe has great potential, if they can keep the momentum going after the chase ends. The problem with that is they have set up the chase to potentially take years. And this will tire the audience out in a hurry. The best hope for this series is that the audience falls in love with the relationship between the lead characters, and the twists keep coming.
I’m an Alfonso Cuarón fan. He directed my favorite film of the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban, and most recently, Gravity. So I was excited the he was producing a series. But I’d rather have him direct.
What drew me to this series was the character of Bo, the gifted child, played by Johnny Sequoyah. Her ESP and telekinetic powers are off the charts. These powers would be difficult for anyone to manage. For a child, this can be super tough. But the beauty is that the audience gets to delight in her discoveries, through the wonder-filled eyes of a child. She does not yet know all that she’s capable of, much less how to control the powers she does have. The question the creators want us to ask is: What is she capable of? Then, what would motivate her to use her capabilities for good or for ill?
Bo is partnered with an adult guardian, Tate, who has been rescued from death row just before he’s scheduled to die. Who would be more motivated to run and keep running but a death row inmate? We don’t know his back story yet. Only that he claims to be innocent of whatever landed him in prison.
We know the people who have orchestrated the duo’s flight together used to work for the institute that helps train gifted children like Bo, while studying her powers. But the audience is left to assume these might be bad guys, because they want the best and brightest charge back in their control (or protection) badly. A few defectors from this group are trying to keep Bo from their grasp. But if they have resources, then why place such a valuable child with a man who has none? Paternity is not enough for me.
The third episode offered back story on Bo’s origin. In my opinion, the series should have begun with this information instead of keeping it back to create suspense. I understand that you need to open in the thick of trouble, but there appeared to be plenty from the beginning of the story. To that end, I don’t care for swooping in to save Bo when any police or government agents get too close. I would rather they allow Tate to be resourceful and street smart than see a team come running to the rescue.
I can believe in Bo’s abilities and that there might even be a secret program like this for the exploration of supernatural powers. What I can’t believe is that the team with the resources to procure apartments and fake ID’s can’t also front them a few bucks to keep the kid fed. The writers have made the unbelievable the believable and left common sense in the dust.
The more I get to know Bo and her abilities, the more I like the character and cheer for her to not get caught so she can do good deeds for people. That is the point, using power for good over evil. She’s a normal kid, for the most part. Kids get hungry, tired, and will eventually fall ill because of the lack of these things. So would I as an adult. Perhaps the writers don’t have children. I don’t either, but I couldn’t imagine being on the lamb without a way to keep her fed and rested without whining or crankiness.
Remember Touch with Kiefer Sutherland? It didn’t last, possibly because audiences couldn’t identify with the gifted child who didn’t speak. I couldn’t, hard as I tried. I can identify with Bo’s situation and sensibilities in Believe. But I don’t see how long they can remain fugitives without wearing out the characters and the audience quickly. My fingers are crossed that they can get control of this runaway train before the network runs it out on a rail, and the rest of us are left wondering what we didn’t know about the back story.