You Might Just Believe in Believe!


NBC’s new paranormal series, Believe (tonight, 10/9C – then Sundays, 9/8C)), is unusual in that it’s creative minds includes the like of J.J. Abrams (Lost, Start Trek), Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity), Bryan Burk (Person of Interest), Jonas Pate (Deception, Caprica) and Hans Tobeason (Damages, V). That means it has a lot to live up to – and it pretty nearly succeeds.

Bo (Johnny Sequoyah) is a little girl who has unusual, if erratic, abilities – abilities that may one day determine the fate of our world. There are powers that would try to bend her to their will and, thereby, control the world. These forces are commanded by a creepy gentleman called Skouras (Kyle MacLachlan).

Another group, led by Winter (Delroy Lindo), seek to give Bo as normal a life as possible – protected from Skouras and able to choose her own path. Winter chooses Tate (Jake McLaughlin, Crash: The Series) – a wrongly imprisoned death row inmate – as her protector. After breaking him out of prison, while on the way to his execution, Winter places Bo in his care.

The premiere opens with Bo and her foster parents being forced off the road by another car. The woman driving, whom we learn is called Moore (Sienna Guillory) calmly dispatches both of them, but someone has phoned in the accident and emergency personnel arrive before she can find Bo.

We get a taste of Bo’s abilities when she takes exception to having an MRI taken and when her polite request for the doctors to stop is ignored, stuff happens. Winter, Tate and Channing (Jamie Chung) all converge of the hospital, where Tate has to spirit Bo away before Moore can grab her.

And so begins Tate and Bo’s journey together, changing the lives of everyone they meet as they keep moving to stay one step ahead of the sinister forces after Bo’s power.


The premiere was written by series creators Cuarón and Mark Friendman and directed by Cuarón. It’s a fast-paced hour with a number of twists and turns, but it stills familiar. In some respects it’s a combination of The Fugitive and a superhero origin story (think an X-Men kind of thing, but with only one superhero-in-waiting), with the budding superhero being on the run from forces they are not yet ready to confront – while helping others along the way.

That may be an oversimplification, of course, because Believe is also about the power of faith – not in God, but in ourselves and others who may just need a bit of a reminder that they can achieve great things. Winter springs Tate because he believes he’s the right man for the job; Bo believes in a doctor in the hospital who is on the verge of quitting because she can see him doing great things.

Despite its high-powered bloodlines, Believe isn’t quite as good as I was expecting. It leans a bit too hard on the power of belief and, as a result, occasionally comes off as awkward. There are connections between characters that are simply stated and, while we’re thinking ‘Wait! What?’ the episode is moving on. Hopefully, these connections will be explored more fully in future episodes, but for now, they feel like arbitrary insertions into the story.

On the other hand, most of the featured cast is excellent. Sequoyah is totally believable as Bo; Lindo gives Winter an earnest, caring feel and MacLachlan is silkily evil in the manner of the best bad guys. Guillory is only really called upon to be an implacable force, which she does well enough to cause more than a few shivers; McLaughlin is a roiling mass of anger issues as Tate, whose surprising moments of humanity come in his initial encounter with Bo then echo throughout the remainder of the hour.

The Believe premiere is a solid effort with a few minor hitches and a ton of potential. I believe it will be worth checking out going forward.

Final Grade: B+

Photos by Justin Stephens and Eric Liebowitz/Courtesy of NBC