TV Recap: Minority Report, Series Premiere

Minority-Report-Poster

Minority Report Series Premiere Plot Summaru:

Ten years after the events of the film of the same name, Minority Report takes place in a world post-PreCrime, where murders are solved the old fashioned way. However, Dash (Stark Sands), one of the clairvoyant PreCogs liberated thanks to the events of the film, can no longer ignore his visions and after failing to stop a woman from being thrown through a window, he delivers a sketch of the murderer’s face to the detective on the case, Lara Vega (Meagan Good). Vega eventually tracks him down and Dash must decide whether to help her stop another murder even if it puts him at risk.

Minority Report Poster for FOX
Photo Credit: FOX Broadcasting

The 2002 film, Minority Report, is an action movie that’s really about exploring the ethics of crime fighting and coping with the loss of a child. The 2015 TV show is a crime procedural disguised as a sequel to the film. That’s not a criticism in and of itself (unless you want it to be), just one of the many ways the two differ.

The leads mostly acquit themselves well within the familiar set up of a tough cop working with someone with unique skills to solve crime. Good nails her character’s mania for truth but isn’t quite as convincing when it comes to her forcefulness. She seems petty in her scenes with her superior, played by a superfluous Wilmer Valderama, when she should seem clever and in control. Sands’ performance is also a bit of a mixed bag. Dash reads as someone with Asperger’s but is otherwise a bit of an enigma in terms of motivation.

The show also dispenses with either the post-9/11 paranoia of the film or the Cold War fears of the original Philip K. Dick story and reduces the premise to a story about two essentially good people trying to make a difference. The only hint of moral complexity comes in the form of the prisoners caught years before by PreCrime, whose minds have been irrevocably damaged by the containment systems used to imprison them. Though the pilot’s ending, which I won’t spoil, somewhat mitigates that complexity.

Photo Credit: FOX Broadcasting
Photo Credit: FOX Broadcasting

The pilot as a whole could, frankly, stand to be a little less complex—even visually. Where Steven Spielberg’s vision of this world was bleak and somewhat devoid of color, this future-future Washington D.C. looks a little like Blade Runner with the lights turned on. Mostly that means a somewhat sunnier, busier picture with more video screen ads, color and modern clothing. Though that doesn’t mean this vision of the future isn’t also a hellish dystopia: Good’s character at one point calls “Trouble” by Iggy Azalea on vinyl an “oldie.” There are also less horrifying references to our time (The Simpsons is on its 75th season, Vega’s mother looks back on Tinder as a romantic way to meet people and the Washington Redskins have become the Red Clouds with hilariously few changes to their logo), but they mostly serve as brief moments of amusement in an otherwise overstuffed hour of television.

The movie version of Minority Report worked because it could set the stakes without worrying about laying groundwork for future stories. The television version sacrifices characterization and motivation for setting up long-term story, leaving too many questions unanswered. Why is Dash so desperate to use his gifts when it could put him in danger? Why do he and twin brother Arthur (Nick Zano) looks nothing alike despite appearing identical as children? How long will they make us wait before revealing the connection between Vega’s dead father and her interest in PreCrime? Where is Tom Cruise? A pilot doesn’t need to answer every question it poses–that’s kind of the point–but it should at least attempt to make its central characters compelling if the plot is going to be so dense. And at this point, with mediocre CGI, thin characterization and an overly-complicated plot, Minority Report isn’t making doing enough to make viewers want to come back.

Rating: 5/10

Minority Report airs Mondays at 9pm on FOX

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By day, Marisa Carpico stresses over every detail of America’s election system. By night, she becomes a pop culture and celebrity obsessive. Whether it’s movies, TV or music, she watches and listens to it all so you don’t have to. You can find her risking her life by reading comic books while walking down the crowded streets of New York City, having inappropriate emotional reactions at her iPad screen while riding the subway or occasionally letting her love of a band convince her to stand for hours on end in one of the city’s many purgatorial concert spaces. You can follow her on Twitter to read her insightful social commentary or more likely complain about how cold it is at @MarisaCarpico.
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