When we first heard that director Alfonso Cuarón was working on a television series about a superpowered girl, we were excited, although that excitement faded with the rapid turnover of series showrunners and rumblings of major changes to the original concept. Now, six episodes into the show, we're ready to quit …
The superpowered child trope often goes hand-in-hand with creepy children: think the Midwich Cuckoos, Damien, Samara. In spite of Believe's best efforts to convince us that psychic Bo is all sweetness and light, she is veering into creepy child territory—and it actually makes her a bit more interesting.
Believe is a show built on quick, uplifting stories. Bo comes in, solves everyone's problems with her various superpowers and then moves on. But the show would actually be much better if it didn't insist ending each episode with a tidy and expected happily ever after.
Bo's "help an unhappy person" arc this week was too easy, and too dependent on coincidences. It seems the writers are more interested in focusing on the show's secondary characters—who aren't exactly riveting, but still more intriguing than our superpowered girl.
Believe's pilot was a disappointing pile of saccharine wrapped up in a story about a superpowered girl, but its second episode is much meatier. It suggests that there may be no true bad guys in this series—which makes the world of Believe much more complex and much more interesting.
After the thrill ride that was Gravity, the pilot episode for Believe, directed and co-created by Alfonso Cuarón, was a disappointment. It's a sentimental piece of television, one that is more interested in building visual sequences than connect us to its characters.