Past Life: "Pilot" Review

Advance Review: There are procedurals that have a sense of humor and let you in on the joke (see: House), and then there are those that don't intend to be funny but are anyway, in which case the joke is on them. When you combine a gritty procedural format with an out-there supernatural premise, that's how you're begging to be classified. And that's pretty much what has happened with Fox's new show Past Life, in which reincarnation is the device that helps a pair of investigators solve crimes. A strange and somewhat disappointing effort from David Hudgens, whose work on Friday Night Lights has rightfully earned him a sterling reputation as a writer and executive producer.

The pilot episode opens, House-style, with a Noah, a teenaged boy who freaks out when he passes by his high school swimming pool and starts having mysterious hallucinations in which he's drowning or running from an unseen pursuer. A few scenes later he and his desperate mother have found the office of Dr. Kate McGinn (Kelli Giddish), an expert on past life regression, and within 30 seconds she's diagnosed him as having regressions and is determined to solve the mystery behind them.

Kate's new partner Price Whatley is played by Nicholas Bishop, a man who looks exactly like a grown up version of Ryan Atwood from The O.C. Price is a former police detective, a cynic to Kate's true believer, and before he knows it he's being drawn into the mystery against his better judgment. There's lots of chemistry between Kate and Price as they follow the trail, chasing vague clues until they learn Noah's previous identity and what happened to him/her. And now a spoiler alert: the next paragraph reveals the solution to the mystery, because I just can't help but to share it with you, so please jump ahead if you plan to watch this show.

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