NBC premieres its new series Believe on Monday, March 10 at 10pm. At the Television Critics Association press event this winter, the cast, including Jake McLaughlin, Jamie Chung, Delroy Lindo, Johnny Sequoyah, Kyle MacLachlan, as well as executive producers J.J. Abrams, Alfonso Cuaron and Jonas Pate were on hand to talk about the new show.
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Below are a few things we learned from the panel.
Want to know more about Believe? Here is the official synopsis from NBC:
Levitation, telekinesis, the ability to control nature, see the future... since she was born, Bo (Johnny Sequoyah) has had gifts she could neither fully understand nor control. But now that she is 10 years old, her powers have become stronger and the threat from malevolent forces that would use her abilities to control the world has grown more dangerous. With her life and future in jeopardy, Bo's protector, Milton Winter (Delroy Lindo, The Chicago Code), turns to an unlikely source to keep her safe - Tate (Jake McLaughlin, Crash), a wrongfully imprisoned death row inmate who's lost his will.
Tate and Bo begin an extraordinary journey, one in which trust must be earned. On the run and traveling from city to city, every place they stop and everyone they meet will be changed forever. But they'll have to keep going to stay one step ahead of the sinister forces after Bo's power... because it will take a miracle to keep them safe forever.
It's a "Little Bit of Both"
When asked if the series would be more mythology-based or procedural, Pate said, "I think it's a little bit of both, actually. There's going to be some procedural elements. Each week there will be a case that Bo - our character Bo that Johnny plays - will meet someone out in the world that she'll help solve some sort of emotional problem for, but then there will be larger mythological elements to the show that will be revealed slowly."
Abrams, agreed, adding that they "want to do a show that you can come in and out of," but also had an ongoing mythological storyline that that fans could follow if they choose to.
The Bar is Set High in the Pilot and It Stays There
With a name like Cuaron behind it, fans can be rest assured that the show's pilot will set a tone unlike any other on TV. Pate remarked that each director that has followed has worked hard to keep up with the pace set by Cuaron. "We're shooting on much wider lenses than I think you would on a normal TV show, and we've tried to keep that style going," he said.
Cuaron agreed, adding that it wasn't all about the look of the show though. "And it's been great, like, from the get go. Like the communication has been, even from choosing the artistic elements, to create that look and to achieve that cinematic approach. I mean, but at the end of the day, it's not only about the cinematic approach. It's the emotional core of the show, because, yes, even if we handle some supernatural elements, there is a lot of tension through the whole thing. I think that what is really, really, really like the core of the show is the emotional one. Pretty much it's the story of a family."
Bo May Have Super Powers, But the Show is Still Grounded
When asked what made him want to do the show, Cuaron said: "I wanted to do something more grounded, and we wanted to do it with real people, real locations. And I wanted to do something really exciting, but, at the same time, something that would be highly emotional. And this idea of having a girl that has a mystery and put it together with this other character, that they are like an odd couple that is this - that starts turning into this father daughter relationship that is not that is not easy."
Bo Can't Solve Everything
Sometimes the best thing about a character is their flaws and though Bo has supernatural powers, she's not perfect and she can't solve everything. "Well, she's not good at it yet," Pate said. "That's part of it. She's a child. So she can't control her powers. So it's part of the way we generate some of the drama is that it's inconsistent."
Skouras Has a Big Secret
Skouras, played by Kyle MacLachlan, is a guy viewers will definitely want to keep their eye on. MacLachlan described the man as "going into the dark side."
"He likes to keep his options open, MacLachlan revealed. "He likes to withhold information. You withhold information, you have certain power against and above other people."
In the pilot, not a lot is learned about Skouras, which MacLachlan said was part of the fun of playing him. "It was one of the exciting things about coming to this character, because he was - it's not that he was not defined, but just it was open-ended to what I could do."
MacLachlan also compared Skouras to another famous character he once played: "It's a character who's enigmatic for sure, and as I've embarked on the journey, I've been able to continue to sort of figure him out and pull him apart with the great help of Jonas, who stepped in and helped really refine and define who he's going to be. I don't think since I was Cooper [on Twin Peaks] have I played anybody as mysterious as this guy with as many different pieces and moving parts."
It's All About the Relationships
The core relationship on the show will be with Bo and Tate, which is a complicated one. "[Their relationship is] where the heart of the show is in a sense because, you know, what you find out in the show about our real relationship later on, it came actually pretty naturally to both of us on set. We didn't have to do a whole lot of, you know, prep or anything like that."
According to McLaughlin, Tate won't be handling Bo with kid gloves. "I'm not coddling her. I'm not that kind of person in the show, and I'm a little bit more of a tough love, 'Do as I say, not as I do' kind of guy. That's why I have a blast doing that. So she's great because she gives it right back and forth to me. That back-and-forth is where the fun stuff is."
Johnny Sequoyah added that it is a "real love-hate relationship."
Still not convinced that you should watch Believe? Check out the first two minutes of the pilot episode below.
(Image courtesy of NBC)