TV Talk: Minority Report Review
Hopefully, 13 years is not too long for this to turn out to be a good series. Also, with Fox’s track record of cancelling sci-fi shows, I wouldn’t get my hopes up too much for anything to make it beyond a year.
So, for those who are unfamiliar, Minority Report was a movie based on a short story by Philip K. Dick. In the future, crimes are solved before they happen by a set of 3 siblings (the precogs) who see future crimes committed before it happens thus allowing law enforcement to apprehend suspects before they do it. Some of the biggest themes from the movie had to deal with free will vs determinism, police overreach and citizen privacy. In some ways, the show captured some of the aftermath with these themes and in others it missed.
Minority Report takes place around 10 years after the end of the movie and still set in DC. While the audience may not have to know every single thing about the movie, we are given a primer on what happened then and what’s going on now. Since the dismantling of PreCrime, murder has made a comeback and the police are tasked with solving them the old (new) fashioned way through detective work and some slick new gadgets. Lara Vega (Megan Good) is eventually brought together with one of the precogs Dash (Stark Sands) by a murder that Dash could see but is too late to prevent. Thus the show starts threading out future plot points to the show. For instance, one of the mayoral candidates wants to start a program, called Hawkeye, to battle crime, we also find that the other two siblings have moved on with their lives in different ways. Another plot thread that the show tackles is that people who were incarcerated are suffering from ‘halo burn’ in which the tech that was used to keep people imprisoned is having an effect on their well-being. The of course, there is ‘the greater threat’ being that someone may be plotting to possibly take the precogs again.
In many ways, I was impressed by some of the visual effects of the show. Of course they probably can’t match the movie’s budget so we probably won’t ever see the jump ships or cool rocket packs that they used or even the futuristic cars. We did get to see some things like the spiders and the guns utilized in the movie. Just in hindsight it was really amazing how much the film predicted a lot of tech that we are using now although precious little of that has followed over to the show. Some of you may pick up that marijuana is freely advertised on the Metro.
As far as the characters, I liked Vega’s no-nonsense approach and Good surprised me by carrying the character well even in the action sequences. Dash, to me was a bit mismatched with Vega but what was another likeable trait is showing that although he wants to help, he is vulnerable because of his social ineptness. It’s a role that easily could have been flip flopped with a male lead and having Agatha being the helpless one so kudos on non-traditional roles for these characters.
As far as the cast, with all things considered, it’s very diverse, featuring Good as the lead detective, Wilmer Valderrama as her boss and Li Jun li who is the crime scene technician. For those that could remember, Daniel London, who played Wally the Caretaker in the original film reprises his role as well.
While I did enjoy the pace of the show as well as some of the nostalgic nods back to the movie, the show is still limited in many ways that Almost Human was. The formula relies too heavily on a buddy cop situation in which the lead takes on a quirky partner to solve cases that others within the police force could never do. Thus, like the precogs, once the plot was established, it became predictable. The show while it mildly talks about the issues of free will, it never really delves into what is going on causing the police to use extraordinary powers to stop crimes, nor does it really address the rights of citizens and incarceration when it comes to drastic changes in how crimes are dealt with. In short, the creators decided to play it safe for this first episode. I hope going forward Minority Report as a show opens up more about dealing with police ethics and less of the mystery of the week. The show has potential but again Fox is not known for having patience with sci fi TV. If it’s going to work, the show has to focus more on the whole ‘destiny vs free will’ aspect and less with a straight line procedural. With those few tweaks Minority Report could become a very good show but as of now, the future remains cloudy
3 Halos out of 5