Director Alfonso Cuarón just recently took home an Oscar for Best Director, and his film Gravity cleaned up in other areas as well, winning seven Academy Awards, including Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, and Best Visual Effects. Needless to say, it’s a good time to be Alfonso Cuarón. Tonight Believe, a show co-created by Cuarón, premieres on NBC, and there’s one big question in the air: can Cuarón’s winning streak translate to the small screen?
Believe is playing around with a time-honored science fiction trope: an innocent female possessed of amazing powers, and those trying to protect her from the forces that would exploit them. We’ve seen it with River Tam in Firefly, and with Leeloo in The Fifth Element, just to name a couple This time around the innocent in question is Bo (Johnny Sequoyah), whose mental powers are only increasing as she ages. Filling out the other half of the equation is Tate (Jake McLaughlin), a wrongly convicted death row inmate who is broken out of prison and tasked by a mysterious group to protect Bo as if his life depended on it.
Believe is Cuarón’s first foray into television here in the States, but he’s partnered with J.J. Abrams, who has tons of TV experience and who serves as one of the show’s executive producers. It was co-created and co-written by Cuarón and Mark Friedman, whose only major produced television credit is as the creator of the short-lived 2009 Christian Slater series The Forgotten. Things get more concerning from there. Last July Friedman left the series, allegedly still on good terms with the show’s producers. He was eventually replaced by Dave Erickson (Sons of Anarchy)…until he, too, departed the show, forcing the show to go into a temporary hiatus last December. The show found its third showrunner in the form of co-producer/director Jonas Pate. So far he’s still the guy, but it’s not encouraging when a show is rivaling AMC’s The Walking Dead in terms of showrunner turnover. Then again, all the behind-the-scenes drama hasn’t hurt Walking Dead’s ratings, so who knows?
Believe premieres on NBC tonight at 10/9c. Later this week it will shift to its regular timeslot on Sundays at 9/8c.
Since she was born, Bo (Johnny Sequoyah) has had gifts she could neither fully understand nor control. But now that she is 10, her powers have become stronger and the threat from malevolent forces that would use her abilities to control the world has grown more dangerous. With her life and future in jeopardy, Bo’s protectors turn to an unlikely source to keep her safe – Tate (Jake McLaughlin), a wrongfully imprisoned death row inmate who’s lost his will. Tate and Bo begin an extraordinary journey, changing the lives of everyone they meet as they keep moving to stay one step ahead of the sinister forces after Bo’s power.
Tonight in Television
Intelligence (CBS, 10/9c) — “Cain and Gabriel”
Gabriel, Riley and Lillian head to San Francisco when the FBI’s Witness Protection database is hacked and someone is blackmailing witnesses to carry out a terrorist attack. The stakes are even higher for Lillian, as her daughter lives in the city.
Star-Crossed (The CW, 8/7c) — “And Left No Friendly Drop”
Roman (Matt Lanter) is furious when the sector guards ransack his family’s pod looking for restricted technology. However, he is taken aback when his mother (guest star Susan Walters) shows him a secret cell phone she found hidden in his late father’s things. Roman takes the phone to school in hopes of retrieving the data and finding out what his father was hiding. Turning to a friend he trusts, Roman asks Julia (Malese Jow) for help and she introduces him to Lukas (Titus Makin, Jr.), a tech genius. Emery (Aimee Teegarden) notices Roman’s newfound closeness to Julia, but since Julia had promised to keep Roman’s secret, she deflects Emery’s questions, causing tensions between the friends. Grayson (Grey Damon) asks Emery to forgive him for the incident at the sector, but she’s not sure she can trust him. Meanwhile, with Emery’s encouragement, and under Teri’s (Chelsea Gilligan) watchful eye, Sophia (guest star Brina Palencia) decides to join the swim team and blows everyone away with her speed. Unfortunately, not everyone is thrilled to have Brina on the team and when she is poisoned by rivals, an all-out brawl ensues. The Trags give Drake (Greg Finley) a mission.
Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman (Science, 10/9c) — “Life’s First Moments”
The point at which life begins is debated in an enhanced episode.