Reverie: “Pilot” – Review

Reverie premieres May 30th, 10pm on NBC.

By Chris Flanagan

Sometimes TV shows reveal to you immediately that they will not make it through the gauntlet of network success and are ultimately doomed to fail. This can be for a myriad of reasons, one of which is the network’s decisions to greenlight such programs, however, in the case of Reverie, I am unable to point the finger at the network and instead am already planning the show’s eulogy before it even premieres.

Mara Kint, a former hostage negotiator-turned-teacher, who is hiding in her work from a past negotiation gone terribly wrong. She has a knack for reading and empathizing with other people, thus making her the perfect candidate for recruitment in the Reverie project. This experimental technology taps into patient’s memories to create a life-like world for their minds to escape. However, Kent’s purpose is to infiltrate patient’s consciousness who refuse to remove themselves from the program. Add in some other “necessary” characters who provide exposition for the narrative, a shadowy tech company who is pulling the strings and the background presence of the government who most certainly have a selfish interest in the technology. The main take away: every character has a dark past accompanied by personal demons. Stakes are high but drama is higher. Welcome to Reverie.

I am fully aware that most pilots do a horrible job of selling a show’s true potential, but typically within one, you are able to identify several key moments or figures that, if cultivated properly, could allow for a new show to grow into something worth the audience’s time. Reverie failed this on all fronts which is sad considering it’s casting of Sarah Shahi, Dennis Haysbert, and Sendhil Ramamurthy, all veteran TV actors who are fully capable of carrying respective shows. Reverie does attempt to make a valiant effort using the most out of what they are given but ultimately fall short due to a bland execution of a semi-interesting concept in part due to the show being on network TV and having to abide by certain “rules” that clearly hinder its potential for something deeper. I hate admitting to the fact that some shows would benefit from being on another network but in the case of Reverie, this declaration is painfully accurate.

I wanted Reverie to be more in its first episode and it had every opportunity to do so, but by the episode’s end, it just wasn’t. The concept, while an average mix of Inception and Black Mirror, ceases to create any separation from former concepts of similar origin which paint the show in an even worse light for resembling a poor copy of something that has been done better. Even after only seeing the pilot, there seems to be nothing original or intriguing for the show to hook you and continue to build from which brought me to the realization that it will be ultimately doomed to find its place amongst the cancellation pile by season’s end and that’s assuming it makes it that far.

Who knows… I might be grossly incorrect about this and Reverie might do extremely well, single-handedly snapping TV-goers out of their Hulu and Netflix induced viewing comas by encouraging them to tune into this show at the same time each week as it continues to provide consistently engaging narratives involving the same concept week-in and week-out all while developing strong characters, both main and supporting, that help anchor those same fresh aforementioned narratives to the the point where Reverie becomes NBC’s tentpole franchise the likes that Friends or Seinfeld could never dream of, but if that’s so, you have my word I will never review another show again and will spend my remaining days secluded in a cabin questioning every show that I have ever watched and enjoyed because something is clearly wrong with me and not the viewing habits of America at large. But I digress…

Reverie is best left on the shelf and merits nothing to continually return to on weekly basis. In its current form, it is a shell of its original concept and doesn’t look to evolve from that space anytime soon. Best avoid if possible. But hey, I’ll throw in a “+” as a gesture of hope that it proves me wrong.

I give Reverie‘s pilot a F+.


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