ABC brings a unique premise to network television in “Miracles” – a new series about an underground detective organization that investigates paranormal occurrences. By channeling both “The X-Files” and “The Exorcist,” “Miracles” proves to be chilling, dark and suspenseful.

Paul Callan, (Skeet Ulrich, “Scream”) an investigator for the Roman Catholic Church, checks on reports of miracles to confirm or deny their veracity. Discouragingly, after six months on the job, Paul has not found a single valid miracle and begins to question his faith. On a soul-searching leave of absence, he finally experiences first-hand phenomena so bizarre that he cannot deny their actuality.

In a scene highly reminiscent of “The X-Files,” Paul delivers an observation report to his superior. The Monsignor shoots him down, claiming his reports are unsubstantiated. Frustrated and weary, Paul resigns, only to be found by Alva Keel (Angus Macfadyen, “Braveheart”), leader of the renegade detective group, Sodalitas Quaerito (Latin for “brotherhood” and “to search”). Keel reveals a deeper, paranormal conspiracy directly related to Paul’s experiences and asks him to join the organization in pursuit of the truth.

Both the visuals in “Miracles” and its ominous soundtrack are genuinely creepy, building the show’s well-constructed atmosphere. It is especially easy to get sucked in during scenes where it rains blood, or Paul has precognitive visions of the dead similar to those in “The Sixth Sense.”

Skeet Ulrich creates a very likable character in the confused and frustrated, but truly pure spirited, Paul Callan. Like Fox Mulder from “The X-Files,” Paul wants to believe that there is something else out there, and he grapples with his faith throughout the show. Conundrums straight out of an introductory philosophy course come up in the first episode of “Miracles,” making the show more than just entertaining but thought-provoking as well.

The combination of metaphysical investigation and religious subtext has a quality that ties “Miracles” to the films of M. Night Shyamalan, especially “The Sixth Sense” and “Signs.” There is truly nothing else quite like it on network television today. “Miracles” has an opportunity to fill the gap left by the departure of “The X-Files” last year, providing a weekly, 60-minute fix for fans of the supernatural.

3.5 Stars

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