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Fox took a chance when it signed on for Minority Report, a new take on the Steven Spielberg movie of the same name. It’s hard to give new life to any theatrical property, but one that is as well-liked as Minority Report is even more of a challenge. And while the opening episode for the new drama features a quickly resolved mystery, the Fox show’s introduction to the world of the future and some intriguing characters is overall pretty good.
Minority Report is set some time after the events in the movie. Pre-Crime has been shut down and the precogs have all moved on with their lives. One, Agatha (Laura Regan), still lives in solitude. Another, Arthur (Nick Zano), has used his odd skill set to become a powerful and wealthy man. The third, Dash (Stark Sands), is still haunted by visions of murders and wants to stop them any way he can. He’s largely unsuccessful until he meets Laura Vega (Meagan Good), and then the fun case-of-the-week antics really begin.
Max Borenstein's Minority Report does go to painstaking lengths to stick with the mythology from the original movie and the actual concept of a minority report existing is intact. (A minority report is another view of the crime that determines sometimes people do choose different actions.) This gives the show a bit of a paradox. While Dash and Vega’s intentions are good, if people’s actions aren’t set in stone and a minority report can exist, is trying to catch murderers before they act the best idea? Isn’t this why Pre-Crime was shut down in the first place? The first episode does a good job of circumventing that problem by introducing us to dangerous villains who threaten the lives of our heroes, but I sense the ethical issues that crop up could either be a problem or an interesting exploration later on.
The good news is, Minority Report looks great on the small screen. CGI on TV has gotten a lot better in recent years, and Minority Report features a lot of technological touches that are similarly as cool looking as the 2002 movie was. Unfortunately, for every fun technology nod--like watches that fly and turn into cameras—there’s a groan-worthy reference to “the classics” like “Iggy Azalea.” (For whatever reason, this sort of banter goes over better in a fish out of water story like Sleepy Hollow.) Those comments aside, the conversations between Vega and Dash and Vega and her frenemy police partner Will Blake (Wilmer Valderrama) are pretty enjoyable.
Look, I’m not going to sit here and hard sell you that Minority Report is the best pilot I’ve seen this fall. It’s not. However, there is more intrigue and nuance to this procedural than a lot of the other case-of-the-week shows, and the premise and mythology are sound. We all know Fox’s track record with sci fi programs, so I’m hesitant to be optimistic, but with a little luck and an already built-in audience, Minority Report could be a good fit for the network. In a world where Bones is still in the schedule, that’s a good thing.
At Comic-Con, Good reported that she worked for weeks to get the choreography of scanning a crime scene for information correct, similar to how Tom Cruise scanned crimes in the movie. It took so long to get the moves right that the team eventually had to film the scene toward the end of the pilot shooting process, so there’s definitely a heavy attention to detail, here. We’ll just have to wait and see if it all comes together into a cohesive and compelling narrative. After seeing the pilot, I’m at least hopeful.
Minority Report premieres on Monday, September 17 at 9 p.m. ET. In the meantime, you can check out more about the series on Fox’s site.
Photos courtesy of Fox.