“Minority Report” is the first series to be adapted from a Steven Spielberg film, and the premiere doesn’t live up to the reasonable expectations, despite a captivating beginning. However, the episode manages to stay interesting, even with the amateurish acting and obvious one-liners.
Set in the future of 2026, the pilot begins with an overly explanatory but intriguing flashback to three children who have a unique ability to “see” any murder in their vicinity before it happens. This not-so-pleasant life is made worse when the government finds and kidnaps the children, robbing them of their childhood years by forcing them to churn out prediction after prediction of crimes for years. When this “pre-crime” program is shut down, the three children — twin brothers Dash and Arthur and their older sister Agatha — are sent away to be integrated into mainstream society after their records are destroyed to protect their identities.
Flash forward to their present and Dash (Stark Sands, “Inside Llewyn Davis”) is still trying to solve crimes by himself— but as the weakest of the three “pre-cogs,” it’s not working out well. He teams up with Lara Vega, (Meagan Good, “Think Like a Man”) a sharp and emotionally invested homicide detective who figures out his identity. The two work quickly together, each compensating for the other’s slight professional deficiencies, hoping to return the pre-crime program to its earlier success without drawing attention to what they’re doing (especially because it’s illegal).
Small, cute details are occasionally slipped into the film to remind us that our present is history to them. One character sighs for the simplicity of relationships in the days of Tinder, while Iggy Azalea is playing in the background on an old vinyl record. The whole city of Washington, D.C. looks like Times Square on steroids, as digital advertisements swim across the skies on large billboards, and all of the new and flashy technology reminds you of the gadgets in the “Spy Kids” movies.
Fortunately, the cast is diverse, and so far there haven’t been any major gender stereotypes in play; Good more than holds her own even as she is surrounded by men, taking up just as much presence as they. Unfortunately, the acting is subpar on all sides, which is surprising — some of the main actors have impressive credentials. Each brings the same kind of wide-eyed overacting usually relegated for single episode guests on procedurals like “Law and Order.” The dialogue can flow too smoothly to read as authentic; no one takes the time to process what the other has said, or is saying, or even will say (futuristic shows can get complicated) before contributing a witty rejoinder.
“Minority Report” does make you think, weaving in themes of predestination versus free will throughout the episode. Something about the show holds your attention, and it may be these existential questions brought up by meeting potential murderers who were locked up and seeing what kind of life they led after their convictions.
Or it could just be the cool gadgets.
Either way, those are really the only two reasons to keep watching.