Tag Archives: Minority Report

Unpopular Opinion: I kind of liked Minority Report.

I wasn’t making this show a priority because I just couldn’t get excited about the premise, but I finally watched it on Hulu this morning, and it was surprisingly enjoyable.

Here’s the thing, though. I’m still not sold on the premise of the show. In a world where there are increasing concerns about government surveillance and violations of privacy as well as serious problems with police overreach, corruption, and excessive force, Minority Report‘s nostalgia for pre-crime actually might be dangerously tone deaf. I mean, the entire point of Philip K. Dick’s book and the 2002 film was that the whole pre-crime thing was pretty irredeemably evil. The show, as was evident from its trailers, seems to be going with “but maybe it wasn’t?” (And I hope you are reading that in the Eli Cash voice I thought it in.) It’s a tough premise to sell, but after watching the pilot episode of the show I’m at least slightly encouraged that they might be handling things with a bit more nuance than I expected.

The good parts of the pilot are really, really good. The cold open, where we see ex-precog Dash (Stark Sands) running through future Washington, D.C. trying to stop a murder is excellently done and really hammers home the idea that, for Dash, his visions create a moral imperative that drives him back into the world to find a way to do some good with his gift. This might be hopelessly naive of him, in light of his own history as a formerly enslaved child, but the show seems prepared to address this issue. Both of the other precogs appear in the pilot and opinions on the moral imperative thing seem to be mixed. It also looks, based on the pilot’s epilogue, like the precogs’ ongoing fears of imprisonment and exploitation may fuel a longer story arc, which could get interesting and lead to an interested dilemma for Dash later on.

Meagan Good plays Lara Vega, the obligatory no-nonsense police officer, and I like her. She’s kind of a stock character, reminiscent of Sleepy Hollow‘s Abbie Mills, Castle‘s Kate Beckett, iZombie‘s Clive Babineaux and enough similar characters that there’s nothing about Vega that stands out. However, I love this particular collection of character tropes, and I rarely get tired of watching them in action. Aditionally, Meagan Good is likable and has an easy chemistry with both co-star Sands and Wilmer Valderrama, who plays her slightly slimy-seeming boss, Will Blake. This gives Vega’s interactions with other characters a natural feel that works in the show’s favor.

The only exception to this is in a couple of scenes between Vega and Dash where the show’s writers seem determined to hit the viewer right upside the head with exposition and shove some character motivation right in our faces. It’s too heavy handed in this first episode, and it ends up being jarring and distracting from the story. That said, television pilots often try to cram as much of this as possible in, so I can forgive it for now. The true test will come next week when we find out if this kind of ham-fisted hand-holding is just a pilot episode tic or if it’s going to be characteristic of the whole series.

The world-building is fairly pedestrian, with the usual near-future stuff in evidence, but the production values are slick and professional. The costumes are alright, and I actually kind of love Vega’s look, even if she does have a cleavage window. Minority Report continues the trend of more diverse casting in sci-fi television, which is nice to see as well. In general, while some of the show’s visual effects are a bit silly (the robots that look like someone chromed a bunch of golden snitches, for example) and there’s not much new or interesting in terms of the setting, the show’s future D.C. feels plausible enough that I can see myself spending a lot of time watching it if it can overcome some of the writing missteps of the pilot.

All in all, Minority Report turned out to be a pleasant surprise. I was expecting a disaster, and what I got instead was a well-cast show with some genuinely interesting ideas. The execution so far isn’t great, but it’s passable, and I think there’s a lot to work with here. I don’t know if it will ever be a great show, but it wouldn’t be hard for it to be a good one. In the meantime, it’s definitely enjoyable enough for me to come back to it to see if it improves.

What I will be (and you should be) watching this fall

So, it took me most of a summer of watching light fare to recover from this last season of Game of Thrones, but I think I’m more or less ready for watching and writing about some new television this fall. I won’t be writing about everything I watch, obviously, and there are a couple of things I intend to write about that I don’t know if I’ll be able to stick with–that could end up like my watching and posting about Killjoys did this summer; I still haven’t watched the last two episodes of that show, I was so bored/frustrated with it.

Here’s the plan:

The Mindy Project – Tuesdays on Hulu starting 9/15. I honestly love this show, and I will watch it til the end of time, although I rarely write about it outside of a line or two on Tumblr. The first episode of season four is excellent, and the first three seasons are available to stream on Hulu as well so it’s not too late too catch up if you’re really dedicated.

Doctor Who – Saturdays on BBC America starting 9/19. Doctor Who is another show I just can’t quit. It’s also one that I intend to write about this year, although I haven’t had much positive to say about it during Steven Moffat’s tenure as showrunner. I’m not making any promises about this one, though. Right now, my goal is to have my Doctor Who post up on Monday mornings, but I’m not going to destroy myself over this show the way I do over Game of Thrones. If it gets too insufferable, I will likely switch to just watching it.

Minority Report – Mondays on Fox starting 9/21. Frankly, I’m already bored by this series, but I’ll probably check out the first episode or two just to confirm my suspicion that it makes no sense. I’m pretty sure the whole point of Minority Report was that the whole pre-crime thing is a terrible idea and this show seems to be presupposing that–maybe it isn’t? Okaaaay.

Scream Queens – Tuesdays on Fox starting 9/22. This show is relevant to basically all of my interests. And it has Jamie Lee Curtis. I’m currently planning to write about this one on Wednesdays.

Heroes Reborn – Thursdays on NBC starting 9/24. This show is basically not relevant to anything. No one wanted or asked for it. But it’s a thing that is happening. Since I loved the first season of Heroes as well as anybody, I will be watching this, but I’ll only be writing about it if it’s really good or really comically terrible.

Bob’s Burgers – Sundays on Fox starting 9/27. Love it. Watch it with my family. Will almost never post anything about it except gifs of Tina on Tumblr.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine – Sundays on Fox starting 9/27. Also love, but also won’t write about unless something major happens.

iZombie – Tuesdays on the CW starting 10/6. The first season of this show was a little uneven, and I wasn’t totally thrilled with the way it ended, but I plan to tune in again this year and write about it some more. Depending on how things pan out, I may end up choosing between this and Scream Queens to write about, though. Just, realistically, I’m not sure I have it in me to write about more than one show a day, especially as I’ve got a lot of reading that I want to do over the next few months as well.

Jane the Virgin – Mondays on the CW starting 10/12. I won’t write about this show (mostly because it’s basically perfect), but it’s another one that we watch as a family and I can’t wait.

Supergirl – Mondays on CBS starting 10/26. I kind of dislike most super hero stuff, but this show looks completely charming. I’m currently planning to write about it.

Ash vs. Evil Dead – Saturdays on Starz starting 10/31. This show is definitely what I am doing on Halloween. I’m not sure if I will write about it or not. It depends on how good this show is and how bad this season of Doctor Who is.

Into the Badlands – Sundays on AMC starting 11/15. This show is almost certainly awful, but I’m kind of interested in it anyway. No plans to write about it.

The Man in the High Castle – On Amazon Prime starting 11/20. I haven’t read the Philip K. Dick novel this series is based upon, but the trailer for the show looks promising. I’m hoping to read the book sometime over the next couple of months, and then I might watch the show.

Jessica Jones – On Netflix starting 11/20. Another Marvel show. I’m somewhat looking forward to this one, but I haven’t even finished Daredevil yet, so there’s no telling when I’ll get around to it. I do really like Krysten Ritter, though.

Childhood’s End – On SyFy starting 12/14. I read this book over the summer, and I totally understand why it’s one of the great sci-fi novels. I also totally have no faith in this adaptation of it. It looks legit awful, and I’m a little embarrassed for SyFy about it. I’ll definitely be watching it, though. And I expect that I’ll write some about it, too. I think it’s going to be just that enraging.

The Expanse – On SyFy starting 12/14. I’m somewhat more optimistic about this show, although I haven’t read the source material (and don’t really intend to unless the show is really good). I’ve no idea whether I’ll write about it or not. It depends on whether I have any feelings about it strong enough to be worth sharing.

I’m really disappointed that the new shows that seem intended to capitalize on the popularity of Game of Thrones-esque, gritty, dark medieval European settings (The Bastard Executioner and The Last Kingdom) both look boring as shit. I’m actually a pretty big fan of the gritty medieval stuff, but I have no desire to watch shows that look to be almost entirely devoid of women. Game of Thrones might hate its women, but at least they exist there.

In all honestly, the shows I’m most looking forward to this fall are all returning favorites. The new stuff that’s coming out isn’t that exciting, with a couple of exceptions, and a solid half of it looks actively bad. I figure I’ll try a few new things, though. Worst case scenario, everything is terrible and I end up reading more books instead.