Let’s play a game. I’m going to describe a television show and you guess which one I’m talking about. An eccentric person with a skill who is not at all in law enforcement teams up with a smart cop who bends the rules and shows the person the ropes, even though that puts them in danger. Every week, the two solve another crime together, probably a murder, and do it better than anyone else can. No, I’m not talking about Castle. Nope, not Bones, either. Nor is it The Mentalist, Sleepy Hollow, White Collar, Almost Human, Psych, Monk, or a wealth of other shows you could name that fit the description.
The show I’m talking about today is MINORITY REPORT, based on the Steven Spielberg movie. Now, I use the word ‘based’ loosely because the film features one character working against a corrupt system to clear his name. Like it or not (personally, I found it good, not great), it is an interesting concept taking place in a world created specifically for that tale.
I get that making MINORITY REPORT into a case-of-the-week, standard-fare, wholly-unoriginal crime procedural makes sense. The PreCogs in the movie see a murder before it happens, so it would seem a natural fit for the mold, with the twist being that the cops stop the crimes before they happen, giving them a chance to interact with the victim, though everything else remains basically in-formula.
Imagine if you will, though, a better concept. A show about rebellion or a changing world or the little guy fighting against the bad guy in a sweeping war. That would be something to get excited about. (It exists, in fact, and it’s called Mr. Robot.) Sadly, FOX’s MINORITY REPORT television show is not it.
The pitch is simple. Dash (Stark Sands, NYC 22), one of the PreCogs, ventures into Washington D.C. ten years after the pre-crime program is scrapped. He begins having visions of murder, but being the weakest of the three, doesn’t have enough info to figure things out himself. Enter Detective Lara Vega (Meagan Good, Deception), a capable cop who is having trouble getting ahead. Obviously, Dash could help her build a reputation for herself, though she’s wise to convince him he might need help from his brother, Arthur (Nick Zano, 2 Broke Girls), to get clearer visions.
Now, admittedly, Arthur is the wild card that makes MINORITY REPORT a little bit different. He joined society some time ago and has built a business for himself. (The third sibling, Agatha (Laura Regan, Mad Men) is still on ‘the island’ and thinks they should keep to themselves.) But he agrees to assist, for a price to be discussed later, so is the consultant Dash and Vega stop by for a brief conversation with just before they run off to confront the bad guy.
MINORITY REPORT could be good. The pilot introduces a storyline with a former pre-crime officer, Peter Van Eyck (Andrew Stewart-Jones, Gotham), who has an idea for a new crime-stopping technology. It may or may not be coincidence he shares a last name with the eyeball-replacer’s assistant from the film. And the one actor who bridges the two, Daniel London, reprises his role as Wally the Caretaker. But seemingly more central is Vega’s cop rival, Will Blake (Wilmer Valderrama, That 70s Show), so that seems to indicate to me that the focus is on the repetitive stuff, not what makes MINORITY REPORT special.
That being said, if you like a good turn-your-brain-off, paint-by-numbers crime procedural, and lots of people do, MINORITY REPORT does that with cool special effects and a futuristic setting. That wasn’t enough for Almost Human (a superior show), but perhaps it will be for this one.
MINORITY REPORT premieres September 21st on FOX.