Monday, June 4, 2018

Pilot Review: Reverie

Reverie (NBC)
Premiered May 30 at 10pm

Ever wondered what "Inception" might look like as a TV series? That's definitely the closest thing to this social media-influenced, computer-built world in which people can relieve only their happiest memories. Having a hostage negotiator be the one to go in to convince people that they're not actually living in the real world makes sense as a follow-up to some of the plot elements of that film, though this world seems much less sophisticated in some ways and much more problematic in others. I don't think there was anyone clamoring for a show about this, and though it tries to be highly technical and mimic some of the film's cool visuals, this really isn't the same thing. In fact, it feels a lot like a procedural, which is strange given its sci-fi roots. Part of that might stem from the fact that four of its lead actors are all recgonizable faces from broadcast TV series. I'm always happy to see Sarah Shahi working, but I much preferred another tech-heavy sci-fi show she recently wrapped, "Person of Interest." Dennis Haysbert was on "24" in its early years and then anchored "The Unit." Kathryn Morris starred in "Cold Case," and Sendhil Ramamurthy was a fixture on "Heroes." Here, they're starring in show with a gimmicky premise but one that doesn't deliver anything all that inventive or worthwhile. Mara's eagerness to continue doing this work to atone for the mistakes she's made that have cost her loved ones isn't going to make this show any more interesting; it's just going to bury her further in the appeal of this program.

How will it work as a series? This virtual world seems like a very risky enterprise in general, and it reminds me of how the techs in "Westworld" seem to consider themselves scientists. I don't think there are quite as many layers here that will make this journey as compelling.
How long will it last? I don't know what NBC expected, premiering a show at the very end of May long after most of its midseason offerings have started and before the summer really picks up. Critics weren't impressed and the ratings weren't great, and so I'd expect this show to air its ten ordered episodes and then fade into oblivion.

Pilot grade: C+

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