On its face, "Past Life" is a respectable enough stab at another Fox-y paranormal procedural (say that three times fast), pairing a believer and a skeptic (now where have we heard that before?) to investigate really cold cases. It's just that after screening two episodes, the rules surrounding the reincarnation hokum remain confoundingly fuzzy, so much so that it's hard to believe the series has enough worthwhile incarnations to remain viable very long before dying and -- unlike its unfortunate guest stars -- staying that way.
George Carlin once questioned the likelihood of reincarnation by noting the math didn't quite work out. After all, the Earth went from a few people to billions, meaning that for past lives to be possible, somebody would have to be printing up souls, thus ruining their value.
In similar fashion, the past lives here seem conspicuously calibrated to create unsolved cases that are recent enough so as to allow a perky past-life Ph. D. (Kelli Giddish) and a tormented ex-cop investigator (Nicholas Bishop) to dredge up living connections to these mysteries. So much for helping a fellow who used to be, say, Julius Caesar. Or maybe that's for season seven.
"I saw the man who killed me!" a confused 14-year-old boy bellows in the premiere, after a jittery "Blair Witch"-style flashback in which he presumably sees glimpses of what transpired back when he was somebody else.
Those looking for help seek out Giddish's Dr. Kate McGinn, who has enlisted Price Whatley (Bishop) to assist her, despite the doubts her colleagues harbor about him. Those include "The West Wing's" Richard Schiff, featured so sparingly as their boss (presumably) as to be relegated to a virtual nonentity.
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