On the surface, it was exciting to hear that Fox was making Minority Report, based on the 2002 Tom Cruise movie of the same name (which was adapted from a Phillip K. Dick’s short story). If the success of the 12 Monkeys reinvention was any indication, viewers could expect to relive the vision of famed science fiction writer, Philip K. Dick, who pictured a police division which stopped crimes before they happened with the assistance of “pre-cogs” who could see the future. Unfortunately, that’s not exactly what this version of the story is about, and while some changes are truly inspired, others water down what makes the classic film so great.
The series picks up in 2065, 11 years after the pre-crime division was shut down as depicted at the end of the movie. The TV show doesn’t reinterpret Cruise’s character of John Anderton; instead it matches one of the pre-cogs, Dash (Stark Sands), with a young Washington D.C. detective, Lara Vega (Meagan Good). The series thus becomes a sequel of sorts, except instead of the thought-provoking dystopia of the movie, viewers are given a sci-fi detective set in a high-tech world that remembers how things used to be.
Taking its cue from the movie, the three pre-cogs are siblings who have retreated to a private island, but in this continuation, Agatha (Laura Regan), the main clairvoyant from the movie, is still in seclusion, counseling younger brother Dash against making his abilities known. Meanwhile, the twin brother, Arthur (Nick Zano), is a self-centered profiteer using his psychic abilities for his own interests. Each has a different piece of the precognitive puzzle with Dash only getting flashes of incomplete information.
In essence, the show has a cop-with-superpowered-consultant-partner vibe, making it feel a lot like Medium, Elementary, or The Mentalist. Vega has a boss named Blake (Wilmer Valderrama) who likes to take credit for her cases, and this provides a somewhat tenuous motivation for her desire to exploit Dash’s abilities. The partnership of Dash and Vega is in fact quite reminiscent of pairings on two other Fox genre shows: Sleepy Hollow and Almost Human; mix the two, and you’ve basically got Minority Report.
All that aside, the visuals in Minority Report are beautiful. Vega’s crime-fighting technology makes impressive use of visual effects, but the gloved interface that gave the Cruise film its signature look has become all too familiar in the days of gesture-based commands. Instead, Vega uses an eye implant of sorts along with cool toys like motorized drones to assist in her investigation. Everything from the amazingly complex subway to the Oz-like DC skyline presents a rosy picture of the future society.
That’s actually a problem, though, in some ways. Vega, for example, looks back at the pre-crime days, which ended before she joined the force, as a golden age of law enforcement instead of a dark period in which people lost their sense of basic free will. It’s possible that the show will delve into these deterministic themes later in the season, but the premiere’s brightly-colored, flashy atmosphere at times seems at odds with its subject material.
With a cast this wonderfully diverse, it’s a shame there aren’t any standout performances. It’s not entirely the actors’ fault, though. Clunky dialogue stunts many otherwise enjoyable scenes, most notably when Vega sneaks up behind a wanted criminal and cries, “Peekaboo, bitch!” Meagan Good’s physical assets are overly-emphasized as well, and although gratuitous bikini shots and low cut jogging outfits have their own appeal, a strong lead performance would be a more compelling draw.
The Minority Report delivers a solid premiere with an interesting premise. Despite an exposition-heavy beginning, the story unfolds entertainingly if predictably, especially with the initial crimes that the detective and her new psychic sidekick seek to avert. The characters, their dialogue, and the plot itself are not terribly original, but for a sci-fi crime drama, it’s an enjoyable ride with a great view. But will people line up for a second turn on the ride? That’s the question.