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Believe - 1x01 Pilot Preview - No Spoilers

From executive producer J.J. Abrams (Alias, Lost, Fringe, Star Trek, Super 8), Mexican directer Alfonso Cuaron (Children of Men, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Gravity), and writer Mark Friedman (The Forgotten, Home of the Brave) comes a science fiction adventure story about a little girl with telekinetic abilities and man on death row sprung from prison, whom has become in charged with protecting her from those who wish to destroy her and/or use her powers for evil purposes.

I don't have high expectations of Pilots. I think a Pilot just needs to set the premise clearly, present the characters with a little flavor or intrigue, and introduce us to the atmosphere of the series. On the whole the Pilot does do that, but there are times when some scenes, especially the comedic ones, seem forced and times where it feels like we jump between scenes too fast. 

It would be easy to compare this series to Fox's canceled Touch, but one big difference is young 10 year old actress Johnny Sequoya and her character Bo. Unlike Touch's Jake (David Mazouz), the character Bo is not completely relying on the silent-passive-humbleness of her socially awkwardness and/or otherworldly to present her character's mysterious nature, but rather there's a warm open directness that at times can be blatantly fierce (both verbally and physically), making her a very strong female lead and not just an antidote to move the adult leads plots and stories forward. 

Most of the other characters such a Tate (Jake McLaughlin), Milton Winter (Delroy Lindo), Moore (Sienna Guillory), and Channing (Jamie Chung) come off with enough intrigue to keep me interested in seeing the next episodes. It's really only the villain Roman Skouras (Kyle McLachlan) that doesn't give much substance for the kind of villain he is playing. On paper he's comparable to other Bad Robot villains such as Arvin Sloane (Alias) or William Bell (Fringe) being an intellectual wealthy corporate and spiritually driven type, but his brief appearance in the Pilot is flat.

On the science fiction front there is just enough technology and/or phenomenon to keep me hopeful that the series will continue to explore more of it, but it's also an action adventure thriller and I was delighted to see well choreographed fight scenes that immediately reminded me of Alias. The only downfall might be in execution, where it still seems to be fighting over which genre will take more precedence, or it just might be that it hasn't been able to balance itself out yet. At the same time it was also fairly character driven, but in doing so it seemed to shy away from the mystery box atmosphere, which could be a problem for fans who are really looking for that and therefore it's definitely different than the way most Bad Robot Pilots tend to feel. 

In terms of how the show looks it has a few scenes that are memorable including something above and beyond that is linking some of them together, but on the whole the series doesn't really have a particular or unique look yet, but perhaps it's because Cauron is trying to ground it's supernatural and/or science fiction elements in reality. It's not to say it had poor production values, as there are scenes where you can see and feel something deep within the characters; the cameras really being able to catch facial expressions and the fight scenes, just more over that the landscapes and interior locations seem mostly generic.

It's hard to say how serialized the series is going to be, but there definitely was a story of the week that is woven into the over all story. The one featured this episode was used well and didn't feel out of place. It enhanced the story in a good way.

Being a Bad Robot fan I see many trade marks and themes from many works that came before it, including themes about children saving the world and shaping those around them for a more hopeful future, but this is especially relevant for those like me, who continue to miss Fringe, which just finished it's fifth and final season last February. This may be a series that could begin to fill in that hole, eventually.

I give the Pilot a 7/10 because it does do what it's suppose to do and the characters are fairly likable or interesting and feel established, but it would do better to try and play up the conspiracy and mystery a little bit more in the next couple of episodes, if it wants to keep it's audience engaged. And please keep bringing on those fight scenes!
Be sure to come back once the episode finally airs early in 2014 on NBC (after the Winter Olympics are over) for my in depth review of the Pilot

LAURA BECKER (DARTHLOCKE4) is a long time commentator, TV addict, and aspiring writer participating with other fans on SpoilerTV. She writes reviews and analytic type articles. Some of her other interests include philosophy, cultural anthropology, reading, drawing, and working with animals, as she grew up and continues to work on her family's horse farm.

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