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'Believe' review: See it, believe it

Jake McLaughlin as Tate and Johnny Sequoyah as

Jake McLaughlin as Tate and Johnny Sequoyah as Bo in the "Believe" pilot episode. Credit: NBC / Eric Liebowitz

THE SHOW "Believe"

WHEN | WHERE Premieres Monday night at 10 on NBC/4, then moves into regular time slot, Sundays at 9 p.m.

WHAT IT'S ABOUT Bo (Johnny Sequoyah) can do stuff. She can float, read minds, make birds do crazy stunts and who-knows-what-else. No wonder evil forces -- notably mysterious billionaire Skouras (Kyle MacLachlan) -- want to get their hands on her. They can then control the world! But the equally mysterious Winter (Delroy Lindo) -- a self-described "good guy" -- and his colleague Channing (Jamie Chung) will do everything in their power to protect her. Winter's first order of business: Spring Tate (Jake McLaughlin, "In the Valley of Elah") from prison, where he's on death row, to protect Bo. But why Tate? That's what he wants to know.

This new series has a very fancy pedigree: Oscar-winning best director ("Gravity") Alfonso Cuarón is creator and J.J. Abrams ("Lost," the "Star Trek" movie) executive producer.

MY SAY Watch "Believe" for any length of time -- say, a minute -- and the questions, doubts, uncertainties (whatever you care to call them) start to intrude.

Where, for example, are the cops? Not a cop to be found, especially when they're needed, which is just about every scene. (When a character says, "I have to call the police," you reflexively say to yourself, "Good luck with that.")

And if Bo knows everything, why doesn't she know when the bad guys are coming? And of those bad guys, why are they so dense? As dumb as posts, for the most part. (The good guys aren't a whole lot brighter, either.)

So here's some "Believe" viewing advice: Don't think. Just watch. Be happy.

There are at least a few things to be happy about here -- mostly McLaughlin who remains one of those Actors in Waiting -- waiting for a big hit to come along. He's got the goods, screen presence, in particular. And we're happy about Sequoyah. She's ridiculously, annoyingly, persistently adorable.

This entire series will rise (or tumble to oblivion) on the shoulders of their characters, and on whatever chemistry they create. First impressions are that it will indeed rise.

BOTTOM LINE "Believe" can be mawkish, a little bit empty-headed, and full of questions without answers. But I like it anyway. (So sue me.)


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