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October 10, 2015

'Past Life' - 'Pilot' Recap (series premiere)

by Jane Boursaw, posted Feb 9th 2010 10:05PM
Past Life
(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.

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Sir Yuck-Yuck

I couldn't get through the first half hour, 15min. in, I was like, this is awful, I won't be watching/taping the 2nd episode, terrible show

February 12 2010 at 2:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I agree,I think that Past Life has potential. I don't subscribe to the belief of past lives for us,so its definitely a "willing suspension of disbelief" on my part.Liked the cast,I was a huge West Wing fan & always admired Richard Schiff on that terrific series. It seems a pity though that the various actors appearing on US TV shows who hail from other countries,such as the UK-born Price,always have to play Americans. Could not the premise of PL have had him a former Scotland Yard detective instead? He could still have ties to the NYPD via a prior US/UK collaboration between these law enforcement agencies,as this plot device will no doubt be necessary for his investigations on future cases.

February 10 2010 at 4:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think the show has potential. Given a few episodes to blossom and understand it more. Fox always has great concept shows, they are hardly ever allowed to blossom. Would like to see that for a change. Every other network is all about cops and doctors.

February 10 2010 at 3:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I tried to give it a chance but it was terrible. I wanted to change the channel after 15 minutes but held on another 10 minutes before I had to admit that this show was one of the worst I'd ever seen. There is not a single character worth caring about and the storyline was a complete bore and beyond unbelievable.

February 10 2010 at 3:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I plan to give it at least half a season. Seemed like something that could grow.
I agree the mom's comment was off. But it was more because she was glaringly caucasian, making a statment one would expect to hear from Wanda Sykes. Now, if they provided a backstory where the mother is only attracted to black males due to the overbearing behavior of the white men in her life , then it would have made sense... in the context it was placed, it did not work.

Amber alert point very astute. While artistic license is accepted for many things, something like this shouldn't be monkeyed with.

I guess , because it was a pilot and they didn't have much time to really delve into the personalities and reasons for behaviors, they really couldn't flesh out the story properly. Too bad though , I'm pretty sure it left many disinterested after a while. Hoping they tell the whole story of the team and how it came to be , in the coming weeks.

February 10 2010 at 2:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I thought the show might of had great potential. And I really tried to have an open mind. I dont like the female lead (dont even know her name). But, still with an open mind, i tried giving it a chance. Until, the mom made her comment... about Jesus being another white man telling her what to do. Come on, seriously... We have enough problems with out crap statements like that. I wont be watching again, nor recommending it.

February 10 2010 at 11:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I thought it was more like an upscale "Ghost Whisperer". They need to tighten it up quite a bit. Like who would freak out a kid in a public place with the dogs. He could have run into the street and be hit by a car or something. They should trigger things in a more controlled environment. Also, NEVER, never wait 24 hours to report a child missing. This is grave misinformation. The mom of the boy said the police told her they wouldn't look for him until he was gone 24 hours. This is not true and the whole point behind the Amber Alert. I may watch if nothing else is on, but this episode didn't reel me in.

February 10 2010 at 11:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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