Eleven years have passed since the PreCrime division was disbanded following the scandal uncovered by Chief John Anderton which implicated the head of the department in murder and cast doubt on the convictions they had achieved. The three Precogs upon whom the system depended, Agatha and twins Dashiel and Arthur, were released to pursue their lives in anonymity, and those incarcerated for crimes they may never have gone on to commit were freed, though many continued to be monitored.
The year is 2065, the place Washington DC, and Dash (Generation Kill‘s Stark Sands) has left the safety of the reclusive exile he shared with Agatha and Arthur to return to the city which where murder has returned to the streets, where he can see flashes of the future of those around him but his own remains shrouded.
An unexpected belated followup to Steven Spielberg’s hit 2002 movie starring Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell and Max Von Sydow based on Philip K Dick’s 1965 short story, the pilot episode of the series developed by Godzilla writer Max Borenstein offers a breathless recap of the background as Dash lives up to his name, racing across a dazzling future cityscape only to serve as witness to the event he had hoped to stop.
Investigating the murder is Detective Lara Vega (Deception‘s Meagan Good), aided by the best virtual reality augmentation the force can provide to recreate the crime scene but tempering that with her own instincts and intuition. Closely modelled on the design template of the film, interfaces with the digital template overlaid on the world are gestural, the software driving them so advanced it is able to identify an individual from a hand drawn sketch.
Beautifully conceived and filmed, if the huge ambition of the production sometimes exceeds its ability it is forgiveable as it is a vast and detailed vision of the future, and certainly the three production companies involved, Amblin Entertainment, 20th Century Fox Television and Paramount Television, have a wealth of experience and more than sufficient resources to ensure an impressive launch.
While the original film was a conspiracy thriller posing questions of morality and the rights of an individual balanced against the need to protect the society in which they lived, if the pilot is any guide the show will adopt a more episodic “crime of the week” style, though already there are indications that there will be ongoing strands.
A powerful precognitive, Dash’s presence in the city must be kept secret even as he assists Detective Vega, but of greater concern is what has become of his brother Arthur whose power complements his own, providing the identities of the nameless faces Dash perceives.
Another significant modification is the foregrounding of the Precogs in the narrative, Dash on an equal footing with Vega where in the film Samantha Morton’s Agatha, now played by Mad Men‘s Laura Regan, was little more than a plot device which drove Tom Cruise’s investigation into the corruption in his department.
Curiously, the title of the show itself is a misnomer, for the minority report referred to the discontinuity between Agatha and the twins, her vision on rare occasions differing from what they saw and always the most accurate; with the trio divided, there can be no minority report.
Where the pilot is let down is in the actual plot; developments which force Dash to confront the consequences of his coerced past have dramatic weight, but with the means by which the potential killer intends to assassinate their target all but spelled out to the audience the investigators remain infuriatingly oblivious.
Though the fate of the show may not be apparent for some time it does not take a psychic to see that the mechanics will have to improve if it is to become more than Tru Calling in a science fiction setting, though in only one episode both Sands and Good present themselves as interesting, amiable and appealing company.
He somewhat socially awkward from his isolation but eager to help, she focused but supportive, it will be this relationship which drives the show, and so far both that and the bold realisation of the new world in which they live are looking very promising.