“Minority Report” (FOX) pilot preview: Major sci-fi movie turned into minor sci-fi TV show

MinorityReport

Written & produced by Max Borenstein (Godzilla 2014). Executive produced by Justin Falvey (Falling Skies, Under The Dome, Extant), Kevin Falls (Franklin & Bash, Sports Night, The West Wing) & Darryl Frank (The Americans, Under The Dome, Smash). Directed by Mark Mylod (Entourage, Shameless US, Game Of Thrones). For FOX, 20th Century FOX Television, Amblin Television & Paramount Television. 60 pages.

Description: small screen follow up to the 2002 feature. The year is 2040 and three young siblings, Agatha, and identical twins Dash and Arthur, have the unique ability to see the future, specifically murders before they are committed, and researchers are closely monitoring their every move. Fast forward to the year 2064, the siblings are now in their 30s, and Arthur has been separated from his brother and sister for quite some time. Dash believes his brother is nearby and he is determined to be reunited with his twin. Meanwhile, Dash would like nothing more than to do something to prevent the horrible murders that he knows are about to occur. Circumstances partner him with Detective Lara Vega, and they become a formidable secret crime fighting team.

With Meagan Good (Deception, Californication, My Wife & Kids), Stark Sands (Inside Llewyn Davis, Generation Kill), Laura Regan (Mad Men), Wilmer Valderrama (That 70s Show, Awake, From Dusk Til Dawn), Daniel London (Minority Report), Li Jun Li (Damages, The Following)…

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Some of you will probably be horrified by this secret I have to share but… I have never seen the Minority Report movie, directed by Steven Spielberg. What can I say? Nobody’s perfect! For an instant, I thought of watching it before reading the sequel’s script. And then I said to myself: “You should discover it as a virgin, it’s the best way to analyze whether or not the show is understandable and enjoyable on its own, which must be FOX’s goal“. So here I was, born-again virgin, reading this pilot script for the Minority Report TV show. Did I enjoy myself? Yes, I did. But right after I finished it, finishing myself. During? Well…

After the two first acts, I was like: “How many pages are left? 40? Gosh! I’ll probably gonna kill myself before I get to the end of this“. Which is never a good sign. But honestly, the show finds its footing midway. The problem is not the story in itself but the boring first act, and the way the script is written. Too many details, too long paragraphs, not enough dialogues. The writer certainly has a very clear vision of what he wants, and you certainly can’t blame him for showing it on the page. But it doesn’t leave much space for the reader to imagine and for the director to create. That doesn’t mean it can’t be a decent pilot in the end. Two sure things: it’s gonna be pricy and the special effects team will have a lot of work. As a result, we probably won’t get the same amount of money throw at our faces on a weekly basis. It’s just impossible. The show will then have to rely on its concept. Is it solid enough? It kinda is. Mostly. Let me explain it to you.

Deception - Season Pilot“Pre-cogs” are special human beings blessed with the ability to see the future. That’s what our three heroes are. In the past, the police used this power to predict murders and arrest the perpetrators before they could commit the crime. But at some point, someone used the program for his own gain so it was stopped and everything went back to normal with the same old investigations. Of course, pre-cogs have not disappeared. They’re still there, among us, and they still see the future but they can’t help the police anymore. So it’s frustrating and terrible and sad and… of course one of them, a rebel, can’t take it anymore and decides to help one detective undercover. A cute, funny and bad-ass woman. There you go, you have your show. A police procedural that is. With action, strong sci-fi elements, a mythology to explore and enjoyable primary and secondary characters, a few funny lines here and there too. And amusing details like… a god called Kanye, or The Simpsons still on the air 50 years later, or Starbucks’ new Marijuana recipee, or Lara’s 80 year-old mother explaining she found love on  something called Tinder back in her days…

When you’re thinking about it, this pilot doesn’t feel fresh at all. The idea was 13 years ago when the movie came out. Then we had Early Edition, where Kyle Chandler knew what was coming because he received his newspaper one day in advance -how dumb was this?- and now we have highly-praised Person Of Interest. On FOX, it’s close to home because of Fringe and last year’s sci-fi effort Almost Human, which was mysteriously not granted a second season. Minority Report is not that different. You can find elements of all of them in it. The most striking difference is the feminine vibe of this show with a trio: our heroine, plus a loyal, funny and effective colleague who happens to change her wig every day, and finally a transgender woman -I hope they’ll stick to the plan!- who has no other choice but to help the team. This is appreciated, especially on FOX, a network that didn’t have a decent heroine since Ally McBeal. Oh sorry, I forgot Olivia Dunham and Mindy! This isn’t much anyway. There are a lot of things to do with the twins and their sister, especially since one of them has gone to the dark side…

Minority Report is definitely a hot property, with a honorable pilot script. I totally see FOX pairing it with Gotham on Mondays, sending Sleepy Hollow to its death on Fridays or as a mid-season filler. Ironically, I also totally see Minority Report endings its days on Fridays at some point, the way every other FOX’s sci-fi series died. It looks like a failure because those who liked the movie are not remotely excited by the project from what I understand and those who are not familar with it probably won’t find any good reason to give it a chance. If only the cast was crazy attractive, maybe it would have stand a chance. But it’s not. Sorry to report it’s a minor project after all.

One comment

  1. Piair says:

    If I remember correctly, ’cause I watched the movie (yep, surprisingly I did !) a long time ago and I was so young, special effects were massively used to create the mythology and to make it strongly immersive. Well, I think it’s the only thing I remember from the movie… its special effects.
    FOX has to put some money on the table, and not only for the pilot…

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