NBC’s New Sci-Fi Drama May Make A Believer Out of Viewers
Save Bo, change the world. Believe, NBC’s newest project from sci-fi goliath J.J. Abrams (Revolution, Lost), centers on a 10-year-old girl with extraordinary gifts that could change the future forever. After a not so accidental car crash leads to the death of her foster parents, a secret society known as the “True Believers” fight to get Bo (Johnny Sequoyah) under their protection. Their goal? Keep Bo alive long enough for her to fulfill her destiny.
It won’t be easy. Some pretty nefarious people are hunting her and willing to do whatever it takes to get their hands on her powers. Their reasoning is pretty basic: Why use Bo to help change the world when she can help you control it? To ensure Bo’s survival, the Believers – lead by a man named Winter (Delroy Lindo) – elect one person to protect her. That person is Tate (Jake McLaughlin), a death row inmate with a chip on his shoulder. Before he can help them though, they have to break him out of prison.
Tate agrees to take the vague deal Winter is offering and embarks on a simple mission: travel to the hospital Bo was sent to after her crash, sneak her out, and bring her back safely to the rendezvous point. Mere moments after finding her Tate discovers getting the 10 year old out without being caught by hospital staff is the easy part. Stopping a mysterious – and well combat trained – woman from killing him and kidnapping the girl? That’s the hard part.
They do manage to get away, and once out Tate is given a harsh lesson in the importance of reading the fine print. What he thought was a simple snatch and drop is actually a full time job as Bo’s caretaker until she’s old enough to be shared with the world. Tate’s as resistant to this as he was to the first part of the deal, and you can’t entirely blame him. Caring for a kid doesn’t sound like the greatest job when you already lack enough social skills to get by on your own.
But Bo isn’t like other kids. She’s strong, savvy, and a little bit sassy. When the threat of death and kidnapping loomed back at the hospital, Bo was the one who took out the mysterious woman with a needle jab to the butt. Bo saves their lives again when the kidnapper shows up at the Believers hide out. Only this time she gives us a powerful taste of her potential… and what makes her worth dying to protect. With hideouts now compromised and no place safe to go, Tate and Bo are forced to split from the Believers and navigate the world on their own.
While it may not be as visually enticing as NBC’s genre golden child of last season, Revolution, the series’ concept is more clearly defined. Things move at a quick pace, but it doesn’t miss a beat in storyline setup. As hinted at above, there’s a slight Heroes “Save the cheerleader, save the world” vibe, but characters aren’t completely in the dark about their reality. This helps the show along to a victory in the ever-present battle of the reveal, something the pilot is also not short of.
Lead actress Johnny Sequoyah delivers Bo with great maturity and Jake McLaughlin offers an unexpectedly likable performance as cynical protector Tate. At times it’s hard to tell who’s the adult between the two characters, but their banter lends itself to some sweet and comical moments. The show as a whole may not be working off an entirely fresh concept, but the series and its characters will surely appeal to genre fans looking for a solid new series ripe with potential.
Scheduled for a mid-season premiere on Sundays at 9/8c starting after the 2014 Winter Olympics, Believe also stars Kyle MacLauchlin, Sienna Guillory, and Jamie Chung. Alfonso Cuaron (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) serves as director, writer and executive producer alongside writer and EP Mark Friedman (The Forgotten), and executive producers J. J. Abrams and Bryan Burk (Fringe).