'Past Life' - 'Pilot' Recap (series premiere)
by Jane Boursaw, posted Feb 9th 2010 10:05PM
(S01E01) 'Past Life' is not a bad show, but I don't know if it will stand out enough to make it past the first few episodes. But who knows, it might strike a chord with viewers and find a spot on the DVR schedules. It's a little bit 'House,' a little bit 'Medium,' and a little bit 'Fringe.'
The story follows Dr. Kate McGinn (Kelli Giddish), a psychologist specializing in past life regression -- memories of past lives or incarnations. In the pilot episode, a teenager named Noah has flashes where he remembers something that never happened to him. He sees visions of a kidnapping and murder, and we eventually learn that he's actually remembering something from someone else's life.
So Kate has to interpret Noah's memories, put the clues together, and figure out who was murdered years earlier. But she has help, and here's where the team aspect of the show comes in. The Scully to her Mulder is former detective Price Whatley (Nicholas Bishop), a gruff, cowboy-like guy who has a sad story of his own. His wife died and he feels responsible for it. You get the feeling that if the series runs long enough, we'll see him connect with his wife through someone else's regressions.
Dr. Malachi Talmadge (Richard Schiff) is Kate's mentor, and Ravi Patel is the rookie of the group, a therapist who loves Cuban jazz and bad American TV. They all work out of The Talmadge Center for Behavioral Health in New York City, a world-renowned institute dedicated to the study of the science of the soul.
I was trying to figure out if there's a set pattern to the regressions. For example, do the person's memories morph into another person's body at the time of their birth? That seems to be the case in the pilot episode, as the murder took place 14 years prior, right about the time Noah was born.
I really like the team and how they go about figuring out all of the clues and solving the case. I wonder if the actors are well known enough that viewers will glom onto them and watch. People might know Schiff as Toby Ziegler on 'The West Wing' (though he's done tons of other shows and films). Bishop is a UK-born actor who's done a lot of British projects, and Giddish might be known to soap viewers as Di Henry on 'All My Children.'
'Past Life' is from writer David Hudgins ('Friday Night Lights') and inspired by the book 'The Reincarnationist' by M.J. Rose, a crime thriller whose main character solves a 21st century crime with memories and clues from his past life in ancient Rome.
It really is an interesting premise, and makes you wonder about all the random thoughts that flow through your head from time to time. After tonight's premiere, the show moves to a regular time slot of Thurs., 9PM ET on FOX.