TV Review: Believe, Season 1 Episode 1 “Pilot”

Believe logo vertical
Creators: Alfonso Cuaron, Mark Friedman

Network: NBC

Air Date/Time: March 10, 2014, 10/9c

Written by: Alfonso Cuaron, Mark Friedman

Directed by: Alfonso Cuaron

Synopsis:

Levitation, telekinesis, the ability to control nature, see the future … since she was born, Bo (Johnny Sequoyah) has had gifts she could neither fully understand nor control. But now that she is 10 years old, her powers have become stronger and the threat from malevolent forces that would use her abilities to control the world has grown more dangerous. With her life and future in jeopardy, Bo’s protector, Milton Winter (Delroy Lindo, “The Chicago Code”), turns to an unlikely source to keep her safe — Tate (Jake McLaughlin, “Crash”), a wrongfully imprisoned death row inmate who’s lost his will.

Tate and Bo begin an extraordinary journey, one in which trust must be earned. On the run and traveling from city to city, every place they stop and everyone they meet will be changed forever. But they’ll have to keep going to stay one step ahead of the sinister forces after Bo’s power … because it will take a miracle to keep them safe forever.

Also starring are Jamie Chung (“Once Upon a Time”), Arian Moayed, and Kyle MacLachlan (“Portlandia,” “Desperate Housewives.”) The series comes from executive producers J.J. Abrams (“Person of Interest,” “Revolution,” “Fringe,” “Lost,” “Super 8,” the “Mission: Impossible” and “Star Trek” movies, upcoming “Star Wars”), Alfonso Cuarón (“Gravity,” “Children of Men,” “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” “Y Tu Mamá También”), Bryan Burk (“Person of Interest,” “Revolution,” “Fringe,” “Lost”), Jonas Pate (“Deception,” “Prime Suspect,” “Caprica”) and Hans Tobeason (“Damages,” “Saving Grace,” “V,” “Cult.”)

Trailer: Believe
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The fact that NBC‘s new series Believe is premiering one day after ABC‘s Resurrection, that next Sunday they will begin airing opposite each other at 9/8c on Sundays, that they both involve kids who are ‘special,’ and that they each have one-word titles, has been causing some small amount of confusion. More confusing, however, just might be the promotional aspects of each show.

As I pointed out in my review for Resurrection, I’m concerned that the light in which each show is cast in commercials isn’t giving a true feel of the tone that I got from each. In the case of Believe, I’m also a little concerned about a J.J. Abrams quote we posted here at SciFi Mafia, that Believe is no Touch, and it’s no Touched By an Angel. Because guess what?

That’s right. Even though it’s been marketed, at least partially, as an action-y sort of show, and there is action, this show looks like it will be, at its core, a warm-hearted family show. And there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s solidly entertaining. There is action, and it looks like there will continue to be action, but Bo really is kind of like an angel, doing good wherever she goes. We learn a bit about what makes her special in this first episode, and about the people who take care of her, and there is clearly much more to come, but if you go in expecting nonstop whiz bang fighting and special effects, you may be disappointed.

By the end of the first episode I feel like we’re set to see what will be its general weekly formula. Of course there’s that whole backstory/series mythology that should give us weeks of entertaining reveals, and there were enough twists involved and enough mystical elements to make me a happy viewer. There seems to be a pretty even balance between the dangerous fight/chase scenes and the warmhearted scenes, so I’m looking forward to seeing whether the show continues on with that balance as it’s set up by this pilot, or if it begins to rely more heavily on one aspect or another.

I like the cast; young Johnny Sequoyah nicely manages to portray Bo as strong-willed and capable without being child-star-annoying, and Jake McLaughlin is believable as bitter but with room to grow.

If this was just a heartwarming family show, I probably wouldn’t continue to watch, but the superpowers and mysterious groups on either side have hooked me, so I’m definitely going to give this show a slot on my DVR, to see how things develop.

I give Believe, Season 1 Episode 1 “Pilot” Four Out of Five Stars.
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Erin Willard
Written by Erin Willard

is the Editor In Chief and West Coast Correspondent for SciFiMafia.com