While Fox puts out garbage like Human Target and the upcoming soon-to-be failure Sons of Tucson, one show that has grabbed me from its pilot is Past Life. The show’s premise is centered around the age-old mystery of reincarnation. Writer David Hudgins (Friday Night Lights) used the book “The Reincarnationist” by M.J. Rose as inspiration for this new drama. Some people believe very strongly in this sort of thing as do many cultures. Many of the ancient and Eastern religions believe that the soul remains constant through successful lives. It is inherently looked as a karmic system, you do good things and you will be rewarded in your next life. Be bad and you’ll be reborn as a cockroach. But thankfully, the show doesn’t get that deep.
Past Life is centered around two characters, Dr. Kate McGinn (Kelli Giddish) and ex-NYPD detective Price Whatley (Nicholas Bishop). At first I thought it was Elizabeth Banks playing the lead role and I had to look it up online. Giddish and Banks’ resemblance is uncanny, they talk the same and even sound the same. But back to the show, McGinn is a renown psychologist at a behavioral health center in NYC. After her character experiences a past-life regression in her 20s, she too becomes a believer in reincarnation. This fueled her life pursuit of helping other people in this strange job niche. She believes there are levels of consciousness and explanations for human behavior that science can’t begin to explain and yet tries to piece together shreds of evidence and memories in order to solve the cases. A former NYPD homicide detective Whatley is the yang of the show, cynical and pragmatic. After an event (I won’t spoil it), he left the NYPD and is now searching for answers. While he brings some common sense, logic, and investigative skills to the show, the main focus still revolves around the notion of past memories.
The show is only two episodes into its first season so character lines are still being molded. To me, it seems like a combination of shows put into one. It has an X-File feeling of the fantastical notion that reincarnation is real, Bones since they remind me of Brennan and Booth, and Fringe since they investigate weird stuff. All, not surprisingly, are or have been Fox-affiliated shows. It’s smart on Fox’s part to keep the sci-fi genre going and honestly I don’t think there has ever been a series about this very idea.
Skeptics and realists might not enjoy the show and I guess if you don’t believe in reincarnation, you might have a problem with it as well. But the show feeds off on the fact of the possibility reincarnation could be real. There is not a shred of proof out there in the world validating if it is or is not a fact. That potential creates an eerie feeling during the episodes, something that has been lacking in the television world today. Really, that feeling is only found in movies and rare TV series like the X-Files and other certain episodes.
Past Life airs on Thursdays at 9/8 pm.
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