Sunday, February 4, 2018

Pilot Review: Bellevue

Bellevue (WGN)
Premiered January 23 at 10pm

It’s always worth noting when an actress who starred on a long-running series makes her return to TV. Initially known for winning an Oscar for “The Piano” at age eleven, she went on to play the memorable role of Sookie Stackhouse on “True Blood,” a truly bizarre and unforgettable series that also won her a Golden Globe. Now, she’s back on a Canadian series that premiered nearly a year ago on CBC in Canada and comes to WGN now. It’s strange to see her in a part like this as a cop used to working undercover who’s haunted by disturbing memories from her childhood. This is definitely the trend right now, to have shows about the hunt for the killer behind a series of murders that have gone unsolved for many years and come back into the spotlight when the killings begin again. Paquin does seem to be a good choice for this role, demonstrating a commitment to a woman deeply affected by her past who has an intriguing relationship with her daughter and with her ex-husband. The nature of the killings here is definitely creepy, with a haunting display of a phone ringing that says “Nature calling.” Like many other series of this sort, this is extremely dark, which has the potential to be too brooding for its good but could also work well to support a truly bleak and disturbing plot. Setting it in a small town like Bellevue should help to distinguish it, and though I can’t be entirely sure that I’ll tune back in, I am intrigued.

How will it work as a series? Given what we saw in this debut hour, it’s likely that many flashbacks to Annie’s childhood will be featured as she tries to understand what everyone else in the town in her current-day life is up to, making few friends as murders continue to happen around her.
How long will it last? Reviews seem to be decent, and I can’t find much US ratings data. It does appear, however, that CBC announced back in May that they weren’t bringing the show back for a second season, so it will have to land very strongly on WGN, a network that has had some success recently with original programming, to give this show any hope of a future.

Pilot grade: B

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