A Believe Community
NBC (ended 2014)
This much anticipated offering from NBC hits US TV screens on the 10th of March and it follows death row fugitive Tate, sprung from prison moments before meeting his grizzly court mandated end, by a guy named Winter. It turns out Winter wants Tate to protect a girl, Bo, but Bo isn't just any average pre-teen orphan, no, in fact she's special and Winter isn't the only one taking an interest in her.

Whilst I wasn't quite as impressed with this as I was with NBC's other Spring débutante Crisis, there was certainly enough here to remain optimistic. As with most pilots there is some clunky, exposition filled dialogue, but it certainly doesn't spoil the episode. The production values are fairly good and the hand-to-hand combat scenes are well choreographed, although the chase and gun-fight scenes need some attention. I can't say much about the setting as it seems like it's going to be a journeyman series and it gave me the impression it's going to follow a help-a-stranger-per-week format. I also suspect that Believe could receive some comparisons with Touch, which I really wasn't expecting, although episodes two to four are gong to be a much better indication of the type of story this show wants to tell.

First and foremost I have to mention Johnny Sequoyah, who plays the wonderful Bo, because she was great. She had some wonderful one-liners and she was easily the equal of her more experienced cast mates, if the writers can keep her precocious sense of humour in check she could be a real fan favourite. Playing her kind of but not quite grizzled protector is Jake McLaughlin, who seems far too put-upon considering he's just been saved, quite literally, from certain death. Filling in the cast roster are Delroy Lindo as Winter, Jamie Chung as Winters associate, Katie McClellan as a British bad-ass (maybe assassin?) who is also after Bo and Kyle MacLachlan as her (possibly) boss. All the players are decent enough, although I do have some concerns over McLaughlin, he just doesn't quite fit the bad-ass death row inmate mould, but maybe I'm being a little overly critical.

I'm a little concerned with where this show appears to be heading. If it takes on the helping people procedural approach then I really will worry about it's future, but if it concentrates on the serialised aspects of the pilot – why is this girl special, why is a seemingly evil group after her, who is Winter and his group, etc – and maybe throw in some strangers to help along the way then I think it'll be OK. The drama and intrigue were sufficient for me to want to continue watching but the “plot twists” were far from revelatory. I'm also concerned with the idea behind making Tate an escaped death row prisoner, let's be honest, within an hour of his escape he'd be the number one priority for every law enforcement agency in the country, including the FBI, realistically speaking they'd find and catch him within a matter of days and there was very little evidence during the pilot that either the law was hunting him or that he was scared of being caught, he was even in a hospital for a considerable about of time, but I guess I'll maybe have to suspend my disbelief on this plot point. They also took every single opportunity to hammer-home the "Believe" buzz-word with a little knowing glance and camera close-up, I get it already, people need to believe – the proverbial horse was definitely dead by the end of the episode.

So, it does have some issues, but overall I think it has a good shot at being a success, although I do feel they need to take care with it's identity and quickly decide in which direction they wan it to go.
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