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On The Tube

And a little child shall lead them

3/5/2014

TV_BelieveA 10-year-old girl named Bo (Johnny Sequoyah) has extraordinary powers, along with being extraordinarily cute. She can see the future, control nature and even save the world — that is, if the bad guys don’t kidnap her for their own nefarious purposes. At the start of the new series “Believe” (preview on Monday, 9 p.m., NBC; regular timeslot Sundays at 8 p.m.), Bo’s mysterious overseer (Delroy Lindo) busts death-row inmate Tate (Jake McLaughlin) out of prison to guard her on the run.

“Why me?” Tate asks, trying to understand the strange situation he’s landed in.

He doesn’t learn the answer in the pilot. But we do, and it’s a doozy.

“Believe” is executive produced by cinematic wizards J.J. Abrams (“Star Trek”) and Alfonso Cuarón (“Gravity”), with Cuarón himself directing the first episode. Not surprisingly, it leaves most TV thrillers in the dust. Cuarón creates exciting action sequences with every tool at his disposal: evocative sound, fluid camerawork, dramatic montage. He clearly enjoys the small-screen medium, and his enthusiasm is infectious. Heck, even the villains seem to be having a good time.

The actors are well cast, particularly Sequoyah as Bo. She is believable as both a normal kid and an abnormal specimen. I don’t know if she’ll end up saving the world, but she will undoubtedly save Sunday nights.

HIV

 

Sirens“Sirens”

Thursday, 9 p.m. (USA)

Co-created by Denis Leary, this new paramedics comedy has its mind in the gutter. I like the gutter as well as the next guy, if you can find laughs down there. But “Sirens” doesn’t establish a satisfying context for its stream of raunchy sex jokes. There are no memorable characters, no interesting relationships; there’s barely even a premise. Three paramedics (Michael Mosely, Kevin Daniels, Kevin Bigley) simply talk about Internet porn, compare penis sizes and observe perverse sexual encounters.

All the characters — even the very unconvincing female characters — are obsessed with clearing the history on their computers to get rid of the icky images they’ve downloaded. I wish I could clear the history on my brain to get rid of this show’s icky images.

 

cosmos“Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey”

Sunday, 8 p.m. (Fox)

Fasten your seatbelts for the greatest planetarium show of all time. The 13-part “Cosmos” is an update of the legendary Carl Sagan series that brought the universe into our living rooms. The new version is hosted by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, who has Sagan’s gift for explaining abstruse scientific theories to a mass audience.

But Tyson has an advantage over Sagan: cutting-edge computer graphics. Not shy about hamming it up, he boards a cool make-believe spaceship to take us into the far reaches of space. He dons a pair of sunglasses to observe the Big Bang and puts his hands over his ears when an asteroid wipes out the dinosaurs. His most stunning effect is conveying the vastness of space and humans’ relatively tiny place in it. Rather than making you feel insignificant, however, his presentation fills you with awe at the wonder of the cosmos.

“Now come with me,” Tyson says at the end of episode one. “Our journey is just beginning.”

I can’t imagine anyone in the known universe turning down that invitation.

 

resurrection“Resurrection”

Sunday, 8 p.m. (ABC)

A boy (Landon Gimenez) who died under mysterious circumstances 32 years ago returns to life as an 8-year-old, with memories intact. We’re ready to accept this idea within seconds, but the characters in “Resurrection” puzzle over it for the length of the pilot. It’s tiresome to watch an immigration agent (Omar Epps) and the boy’s mom and dad knit their brows for an hour, trying to come to terms with a simple fantasy premise. At the 50-minute mark, the parents are still waiting for the results of DNA tests to see if the boy is really related to them. You want to shout: “FOR GOD’S SAKE, THE KID HAS BEEN RESURRECTED, SO JUST GET ON WITH IT!”

Even the town preacher is reluctant to conclude that something mystical is occurring. “Things happen in the world,” he says tentatively, “that are meant to test our faith.”

And shows like “Resurrection” are meant to test our patience. CV

Dean Robbins is a syndicated TV columnist from Madison, Wis. He graduated from Grinnell College and went on to become an award-winning journalist, but he’s been a committed couch potato long before he figured out a way to get paid for watching TV. See more of his work at www.thedailypage.com.

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