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RESSURECTION and BELIEVE: Will these TV shows survive until season 2?

Posted on March 14th, 2014
Posted on March 14th, 2014

by Coop Cooper

Since primetime TV is turning into a seasonal free-for-all where new shows are released almost haphazardly, two new supernatural dramas have now premiered on major network channels in an attempt to compete with the increasingly popular cable dramas…

Resurrection” – In a rice paddy in China, a young American boy appears out of nowhere, confused and practically mute. Upon the boy’s return to America, FBI officer Marty Bellamy (Omar Epps) is tasked with finding the boy’s parents and returning him safely. Despite attempts to discover the boy’s identity, all signs point to the boy originating from a town called Arcadia, Missouri. When Bellamy transports him to Arcadia and finds the kid’s parents, they are shocked as their son had died over thirty years ago, yet this boy is unmistakably the same child. As Bellamy investigates and the boy’s relatives try to come to terms with what has happened, it becomes evident that the boy is only the first of many dead people returning to Arcadia.

I wasn’t keen on the premise considering it’s practically a rip-off of more than one movie and is almost identical to a French TV show called “The Returned”. However, the pilot is so well written, acted and executed that it works. The characters have complex reactions to these bizarre miracles and the story unfolds organically.

The main concern I have about “Resurrection” is where it is going. A premise like this could run out of steam if too much is revealed early on or can die out quickly if it can’t solve a satisfying amount of mysteries within the first season. I don’t see a lot of layers with this one. Either God, aliens or mad scientists are doing it. That’s it, and all those ideas have been played out in past films/TV shows already. How far can they take this premise before it gets stale or absolutely ridiculous? Maybe there shouldn’t be any answers at all. Perhaps all of the mystery lies within the town itself and what new information these people can reveal about their death? Time will tell but I would be surprised if this show can sustain momentum into a second season.

The show airs Sundays at 8pm on ABC.

Rating: 3 and 1/2 out of 5 stars

Believe” – A super-powered little girl named Bo (Johnny Sequoyah) is on the run from a shadowy organization that aims to exploit her power for evil. A violent death row inmate named Tate (Jake McLaughlin) is sprung from prison by a mysterious man named Winter (Delroy Lindo) who claims Tate has been chosen to be Bo’s protector. Winter’s white-hat organization believes Bo is a gift to be shared with the world only when it is ready, but the evil (government?) organization run by Skouras (Kyle MacLachlan) causes Tate and Bo to hit the road permanently to stay out of his grasp.

For someone so powerful, Bo is naïve to an annoying degree, constantly freaking people out with her powers. She shows very little discretion, wisdom or intelligence, confronting people about their problems and insecurities with her telepathy. Her short attention span and dangerous impulsiveness gets Tate into unnecessary, repetitive trouble and it’s obvious that this is how her character is supposed to be from here on out.

Tate seems to have very advanced martial arts and tactical training for a petty thug. One rule is that he isn’t allowed a gun which only seems to serve some sort of PG-themed ‘good guys wear white’ trope. It is never explained to him why he is chosen for this and eventually he seems to give up trying to find out why and proceeds to go with the flow. Everybody in the show seems to do that. They are too easily convinced and not just because Bo is wowing them (or irritating them) with her clairvoyance and precognition. At the end of the pilot, Tate tries to set some ground rules with Bo so she will mind her own business around strangers. Bo makes it clear she will do no such thing, but at least the audience is mercifully clued into the reason behind their pairing, even if they aren’t.

This show runs a dire risk of becoming a dated, hokey ‘heroes wander the Earth and get into adventures’ type-show in the vein of “Kung Fu”, “The Incredible Hulk”, “The A-Team” and “Knight Rider”. Modern shows need more interconnecting story lines with complex characters, not aimless hitchhiking from town to town. In order for the show to survive, it will need to go more in the “Heroes” direction and less down the predictable “Highway to Heaven” path.

On a bright note, Jake McLaughlin does have some dramatic acting chops, but he also has an action-star physicality which is a genre he might really excel in. I hope to see him in something more like a big-budgeted “Die Hard” rather than a TV show which might not last more than a few episodes.

The show also airs on Sundays at 8pm on NBC.

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

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