Is it possible for one little girl to hold the fate of the world in her hands? Will she be able to live a normal life or be forced into being someone's pawn until it's too late? That's part of the premise behind NBC's new show "Believe," which had one girl on the run while the adults in her life had very different agendas when it came towards her future. Sadly, the show's future looked bleak after a promising series premiere that was full of fast paced thrills.
"Believe" followed the complicated journey of Bo Adams (Johnny Sequoyah) who was always considered special ever since she was born. Her powers were a mixture of telekinesis, controlling nature and even seeing the future that could make Bo the most powerful kid in the world. Unfortunately, the adults in her life seemed to want different things from her. Bo lost both of her parents when she was a baby for different reasons. Her mother, Nina, was also very gifted ended up dying in childbirth and her father was never in the picture. That changed with the arrival of Tate (Jake McLaughlin) who escaped from prison after being supposedly wrongfully convicted and losing his sense of purpose along the way. Tate was recruited by Milton Winter (Delroy Lindo) to keep Bo safe and raise her right, even though neither Bo or Tate didn't know that they were father and daughter. They also had the support of Channing (Jamie Chung) who was Winter's skeptical number two to keep them safe from Skouras (Kyle MacLaughlan) who appeared to care about Bo's well being, but he wanted to use her for his own personal gain. Skouras' mysterious desires also aided in the death of Bo's mother by causing her to go into pre-mature labor after conducting a dangerous demonstration. It was also revealed that Winter and Skouras were once partners that worked together to help Nina and then Bo, but Winter left Skouras' company after he realized that his motives for Bo weren't entirely pure. Both men were desperate to win that they were willing to pull out of the stops, but they still seemed unaware of what their growing battle will cost them. Who will win and who will get what's coming to them?
In terms of questions, the show seemed to have a lot of explaining of explaining to do and not enough time to answer all of them, especially with rumors of the show's fate getting bleaker with each passing week. It also didn't help that the show's overall tone bordered on being over the top and sometimes preachy as each episode talked way too much about the struggle between good and evil. Generally, the show's plots focused on Bo and Tate on the run while they tried to help regular people in need of some old fashioned kindness. The only spin was that Bo used her supernatural powers to do so, which allowed viewers to see Bo entertain a sick child by getting all of his toys to levitate for his amusement. The moment provided some relief from the show's usually dark tone, which there needed to be more of to keep audiences interested. Future episodes should focus on the action and show viewers what needed to be told rather than discuss it at excessive length. The show's weakest part so far was the growing battle between Lindo's Winter and MacLachlan's Skouras as they seemed to talk in circles about each other rather than an actual confrontation. That situation was fixed in the third episode as Lindo and MacLachlan finally interacted in a brief scene that helped to shed some light on many different things. Sadly, the scene was too brief, but it foreshadowed that more moments like this will be coming sooner rather than later. The show's main draw was the growing connection between Tate and Bo that provided some the episodes' stronger moments. Let's hope that the show will allow viewers to get to know Bo and Tate before the series gets written off completely.
As for breakout performances, McLaughlin and Sequoyah led the pack as each episode tended to focus on their adventures, and occasionl, misadventures on the run from everyone dangerous. McLaughlin provided Tate with the right balance of anger, humor and vulnerability as he tried to be a parental figure to Bo. He made Tate's initial appearance of an unstable prison inmate showcased that the character was still going to be a work in progress as the season continued on. McLaughlin's strongest scene came when he initially shared his first scene with Sequoyah's Bo where he wordlessly sat by her hospital bedside and felt the urge to shed a tear over the little girl for fears known only to Winter and Skouras for now. It also helped that McLaughlin and Sequoyah share an comfortable rapport that allowed their scenes to bounce from drama to comedy in the blink of an eye. One recent scene demonstrated this as Bo and Tate were on the run from the cops. Bo was afraid of heights and was stuck on a fire escape unable to move, even as Tate pressured her to move. He first tried yelling at her, but he turned to a gentler approach to persuade the girl to move from her dangerous spot. Sequoyah, on the other hand, was the show's true star as her character was the one who drove most of the stories. She managed to provide so much subtext for Bo even as she quietly observed her surroundings and the people who crossed her path. Sequoyah gave Bo a quiet strength and vulnerability that made viewers want to root for and hope that she found another show if this one ended up getting cancelled once the season is over. Fingers crossed for either scenario.
"Believe" premiered on March 10th at 10:00 PM on NBC. It since moved to regular time of Sundays at 9:00 PM on March 16th.
Verdict: The show found a star in Sequoyah's Bo, but the rest of the series focused on the miracle of the week plots and a fugitive on the run story that could get stale as the season runs on. Let's hope that the show finds its purpose before the network decides to cancel it.
TV Score: 2.5 out of 5 stars
1 Star (Mediocre)
2 Stars (Averagely Entertaining)
3 Stars (Decent Enough to Pass Muster)
4 Stars (Near Perfect)
5 Stars (Gold Standard)