TV Review - Believe

The series is very much reminiscent of Firestarter (1984), the adaptation of the Stephen King novel about a father and daughter on the run from a private organization that wants the daughter because she has supernatural powers. This series is also very reminiscent of the recent FOX series Touch, starring Kiefer Sutherland who plays a father on the run with his son from a private organization that wants the son because the son has special abilities. That FOX series was structured around the son compelling his father to help people who are in need.

Jake McLaughlin stars as William Tate, a man who is wrongly convicted of murder after he unknowingly impregnates Nina Adams, a woman with psychic powers whom he loved. Johnny Sequoyah co-stars as Bo Adams, the 10-year-old daughter of William and Nina who is realized at a young age to have telekinesis, some telepathy and clairvoyance.

Kyle McLachlan stars as Dr. Roman Skouras, the head of the private organization called Project Orchestra that studies people with psychic abilities like Bo's. He's self-financed but he has the approval of the military because he's promised them a weapon. Delroy Lindo also stars as Milton Winter, a scientist who used to work for Roman but broke away because he disapproved of Roman's experiments, which were tantamount to torture. Milton saw Bo being tortured and had enough.

In the premiere episode, Milton frees William from prison and frees Bo from Roman's experiments. Milton reunites William and Bo, but they're all essentially fugitives. Roman calls the FBI and gets the bureau with police assistance to pursue William and Bo. At the same time, Roman decides to send other people with psychic powers after them.

Milton and Janice Channing, a physically well-trained and technically-minded assistant, played by Jamie Chung, help William and Bo jump from place-to-place. They have various hideouts where they do all they can to survive on little money and avoid the police and Roman's men.

In Episode 5, titled "White Noise," the show indicates how it will possibly end. Bo compels William to help people who her psychic visions deems necessary. In that episode, Bo compels him to help a blogger who learns about Roman's secret experiments. That blogger named Ben Wooten, played by Ebon Moss-Bachrach, threatens to go public with this story. Roman tries to stop Ben, but William and Bo come to his rescue.

At the end of the episode, they urge Ben to wait before publishing the whole story. As this episode played out, it seemed like that was the perfect way out. Milton and all of them need to go public with Bo's story and what Roman did and bring the media down upon him. Yet, the show wants to extend this being-on-the-run setup. Otherwise, it just becomes like the third season of Heroes.

Oscar-winner Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity and Children of Men) directed the premiere episode. He also co-created the series, but his direction of that premiere is beyond phenomenal. The opening scene of that premiere is a long one-shot that ends in a car crash. Cuarón's camera floats in and out of it, while also staying transfixed during the car's flips and tumbles. Special effects are key, but it's a sequence that's marvelous to watch.

The subsequent episodes aren't so marvelous, but they have a feel and look to them, which are visually interesting and gritty authentic in a lot of ways. In addition, the performances are great, particularly between McLaughlin and Sequoyah who have a great rapport and dynamic that's funny and charming and simply fun when seen on screen.

Five Stars out of Five.
Rated TV-14.
Running Time: 1 hr.
Sundays at 9PM on NBC.


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