Unless it Gets Better, Past Life's Future Isn't Certain

Because there are so many procedurals out there, I'm always skeptical that a new one can hold my attention. At this point there needs to be something to hang my hat on besides the cases themselves—be it an odd central character, an overarching mythology, screwball comedy, or Nathan Fillion. Especially on a show that's slated for a Thursday-night primetime slot before Fringe. That said, the new Past Life, from Friday Night Lights producer David Hudgins, was a disappointment—it had an interesting, compelling premise, but it was muddled in a whole lot of talking and an unsatisfying conclusion.

The send-up feels very much like this show could have been The Sixth Sense in an earlier incarnation: Everyone has "past lives" that are trapped inside them, deep within the recesses of their subconscious, which manifest themselves in thoughts, memories, and actions when they're trying to communicate something important to the outside world. It's not always bad stuff, either—in last night's premiere, a little girl who'd been murdered many years ago inhabited the body of a teen to clear the name of her father, help the police track down the real killer and, as it turned out, her long lost sister. Kate McGinn (Kelli Giddish) is the Haley Joel Osment, an agent who believes in reincarnation and interprets the vague directives of these past lifers for real-world application. Her new colleague, Price Whatley (Nicholas Bishop, channeling a little bit of McNulty), is the Bruce Willis skeptic.

The case itself twisted and turned as this poor teenage boy was tormented by his (soul's?) previous occupant, and the resulting slow release of new information drew me in. If only every other aspect of the show wasn't so distancing. Whatley spilled the beans early on the fact that his wife was killed a year ago in an accident he blames on himself; the more this reincarnation naysayer learns about the theory—and witnesses it with his own eyes—the more hope he feels that he might speak to his wife again. It's all a little heavy-handed, but at least Whatley's got something else going for him aside from the case at hand. McGinn, on the flip side, revealed only the tiniest personal tidbits: She lives with her mom, cancels dates for the sake of her work, and believes wholeheartedly in everything having to do with past lives. So much so that she finds herself expounding about her theories with a broad grin on her face, as if there's no reason anyone in the entire world could ever not believe what she believes. Over and over, as if they're the absolute truth. It's a little creepy, like talking to someone with Jews For Jesus.

Richard Schiff (The West Wing's Toby) makes an underutilized appearance as a member of the team. And the scenes from the past life—grainy footage spliced together frenetically—add a nice aesthetic to complement the grounded real-life action. But a few nice touches do not a compelling procedural hook make.

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I thought this show was excellent, both episodes made me have tears in my eyes at the end! I also watch Fringe and think that is excellent too. Is it not possible to have two great shows?
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Hopes it good as long as Fox doesn't decided to keep it over Fringe
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You know, instead of people complaining about this show. Maybe they should actually watch it and pay attention to it. Seriously people have no patience when comes to TV these days!
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it looks stupid, not worth anyone's time
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Why are the Staff writers talking sh!t about every show except their own (CBS)?!
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Not every good show started out strong. some got better with time.
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I fell asleep! Enough Said!
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Lets remember, folks were complaining about Fringe not so long ago, lets give it a chance first.
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Me and my mother enjoyed it. I don't know why people are complaining about this show. Yes, I understand when you make a show about investigations, it should be based on real life stuff. But hey look at Fringe; it got mediocre reviews when it first started now it's doing great. I'm also looking for someone to publish my short story about reincarnation. It's very similar to the pilot episode of this show; teenage boy has past life memories as a little girl during The Great Depression.
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Past Life is excllent show!
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I haven't seen this show yet, but i've seen commercails. And i think it seems to be a make it or break it show. I mean at first i thought it sounded cool to investergate a persons memories from a past life, but now i actually think it sounds corny, not to say lame. But i will give it a chance, than i know what to think.
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seen it on tv(ad) and did not even touch it
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Could care less about this one. I could never buy into the whole "everyone has a past life" theory.
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Fringe, Fringe, Fringe...don't let this show Fringe.
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I really enjoyed it. It started up a bit slow but really drew me in and the ending was very effective.
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So boring that I fell asleep after watching it in the middle of the day. Nothing interesting about this at all. Wow past lives and with the billions of people in this world they just happen to find this boys past life was not only on the same continent, but within driving distance, and speaking the same language. Are we also to assume that it only takes a month or so for a soul to find a new body? Absolute BS on a whole new level.
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Premise sounds lame
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Too much garbage on TV anyway and the preview didn't interest me in the slightest...bring back Fringe! It's finally getting amazing.
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I'd rather watch dollhouse..........nevermind.......
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Not even a flicker of interest...
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This show looked like crap from the go to me. I just hope fox gets rid of it quickly before it hurts Fringe.
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I thought it was o.k. but it didn't really bring anything new to the table.
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i enjoyed it, but i guess cause i love psychology and the ideas of karma and past life and idkk haha
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