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Series / Believe

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Believe was an American TV series that aired on NBC, created by Alfonso Cuarón and Mark Friedman; Cuaron also directed the pilot, with he and J. J. Abrams among the executive producers. It tells the story of Bo, a young girl with paranormal abilities, and the ex-con hired to protect her from a sinister conspiracy to control her.

The show debuted on March 10 2014. Faced with a difficult timeslot (Sunday nights at 9, opposite Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey and Game of Thrones), it was cancelled after only one season.

This series contains examples of:

  • Accidental Murder: Dani got angry at her brother and lost control of her powers, knocking over a heavy and fully loaded bookcase and crushing him.
  • All Girls Like Ponies: Bo is excited when she and Tate must go steal a horse in order to help a man who's getting cornered by moneylenders. She loves horses.
  • All-Loving Hero: Bo. While early in the series, she's helping complete strangers, by the end of the series her visions are of the series' antagonists.
  • Big Applesauce: Much of the series takes place in and around New York City.
  • Brooklyn Rage: Seen in the third episode when Tate and Bo are nearly hit by a New York driver, who proceeds to chew them out over it.
    Tate: You almost flattened a kid and you're yellin' at me?
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  • Butterfly of Death and Rebirth: A blue butterfly occasionally appears to point out significant moments, things or persons. Seems to be symbolic of Bo's late mother.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Bo's powers seem to thrive on these. Bo is almost run over by a car belonging to a woman whose son went missing years ago during the Iranian Revolution. Through a series of unlikely events Bo and Tate end up in the store where the now grown-up son is working.
  • Creepy Child: Played with. Bo is a genuinely sweet kid, but people are understandably creeped out by her powers, particularly her ability to know personal details about them (like the casino waitress with the sick kid in episode 2).
  • Defector from Decadence: Winter and all of the people working for him are former members of Skouras' organization who defected in order to protect Bo.
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  • Disaster Dominoes: When Tate prohibits Bo from using her powers to interfere in strangers' lives she comes up with increasingly convoluted scenarios where using her powers might be needed to save people. By the time she is talking about a meteor causing giant insects to attack, Tate has given up arguing with her. With her powerful abilities it is easy to forget that Bo is still just a child with a very vivid imagination.
  • Doesn't Like Guns: Winter, who repeatedly rebuffs Tate's requests for a gun with "We're the good guys."
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Moore tries and fails to gain a one day reprieve from her job so that she can visit her mother on her birthday.
  • First-Episode Twist: Tate is Bo's biological father.
  • Flechette Storm: Joshua's primary use of his telekenetic abilities involves launching large numbers of throwing knives.
  • Government Agencyof Fiction: The NYPD is accurately portrayed except for having different shoulder badges.
  • He Cleans Up Nicely: Tate is a lot better-looking once he loses his prison beard and gets a haircut.
  • Healing Hands: In the penultimate episode Bo displays the ability to cure the Degrade.
  • Hero Antagonist: FBI Agent Elizabeth Ferrell, tasked with recapturing the escaped criminal William Tate Jr. and retrieving the ward of the state Bo Adams. It doesn't take her long to realize that Roman Skouras is not to be trusted despite having the government's backing, but she still believes that she's stopping a dangerous criminal and rescuing an endangered youth, so she remains in opposition to the heroes despite being less than pleased with the allies she's been given. Until they save her and her daughter from a bomb in the subway, not to mention that the subway platform emptied out as soon as Ferrell drew her gun on Tate, thereby preventing anyone else from even getting caught in the ensuing cave-in.
  • Improvised Weapon: Krakauer is adept at this, at one point attacking Tate with a gas pump nozzle.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Bo. Best example: Casually giving away nearly thirty thousand dollars in gambling winnings to a woman whose son needs an experimental cancer treatment, despite the fact that she and Tate had no other money to live on and no place to stay.
  • Just a Flesh Wound: Subverted. Tate ends up getting shot but the bullet just nicked him. However, there is still a lot of blood, he needs stitches and he is considerably weakened by it.
  • Luke, You Are My Father: The audience learns that Tate is Bo's father at the end of the very first episode, but they don't learn it until the seventh episode.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: Bo has this as one of her abilities. She uses it in the pilot to stir up a flock of birds, covering the gang's escape. Dani has it too, as seen in the incident where her brother died.
  • Mind over Matter: All of the telepaths in this show have this ability.
  • Mind Rape: Telepaths are capable of wiping a victim's memories or even inflicting irreparable brain damage, sometimes accidentally if they're not careful.
  • Miscarriage of Justice: Tate admits to being a criminal but claims to have been set up for the crimes for which he was sentenced to death. He was within minutes of execution when the conspiracy broke him out. It's later revealed he really was innocent.
  • Next Sunday A.D.: So indistinguishable from the present that you need to be paying close attention to notice it. When Dani is first introduced, it's stated that her parents abandoned her at age 12 after they believed that she killed her brother. (She did, but it was an accident). In the series finale, Dani is stated to be 19, and later that same episode, she's shown visiting his grave—where he's shown to have died in 2011, thereby putting the present day at 2018.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Bo's Psychic Powers tend to do whatever is needed for the plot like lighting up a tunnel in the "Collapse" episode or creating the illusion of a wall in "Revelation" without any hint that she could do that beforehand.
    Tate: I didn't know you could do that.
    Bo: I didn't either.
  • Nightmare Sequence: In "Bang and Blame", Bo has a vivid nightmare while under the influence of a tranquilizer dart.
  • The Oner: This being an Alfonso Cuaron show, naturally, there are several uses of the continuous shot.
  • Oracular Urchin: One of Bo's abilities appears to be precognition. In the pilot, she predicts that Terry will save a young woman named Senga. At the end of the episode, he does, in fact, save the life of a young woman. Her name is Agnes, which becomes "Senga" when seen in a mirror.
  • Outside-Context Problem: An escaped death row inmate who abducted a little girl from a hospital is predictably the subject of a massive manhunt and his and Bo's photos will be all over the TV. The FBI quickly zeros in on their location and corner Tate at gunpoint. Then reality goes out the window when Bo uses her telekinesis to lift and throw a car. The FBI agents are not trained to handle that.
  • Papa Wolf: After Tate finds out that Bo is his daughter, he gets pretty damned protective of her.
  • Parental Abandonment: Tate didn't even know about Bo before they met, and she had no idea who her father was (her mother having died shortly after her birth).
  • Playing with Fire: Dani's preferred weapon. Well, aside from Force chokes.
  • Power Incontinence: Bo is prone to involuntary power flare ups when she gets upset, resulting in everything from smashing a nearby TV screen when she's angry to making paint crack and peel on the wall she's leaning against when she's scared. This happens to Dani, too, far more tragically—she accidentally kills her brother by knocking a fully loaded bookcase over onto him.
  • Prophetic Fallacy: Bo demonstrates quite a bit of awareness of things that have happened, are happening, and are going to happen, but she doesn't always get enough context to interpret them accurately. In the pilot, her efforts to help Terry are hampered by the fact that the first time she mentions Senga to him she doesn't realize it's something that hasn't happened yet, and Terry naturally has no idea what she's talking about. She also got her name reversed - Senga's actual name is Agnes.
  • Psychic Powers: Bo and her mother Nina both have very real, very powerful psychic abilities. Skouras has several other test subjects who do as well, though none as talented as them.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Moore is too ruthless to be really sympathetic, but her job is still a job to her, and she wants her scheduled days off.
  • Redemption Equals Life: Dani.
  • Scary Black Man: Krakauer.
  • Shock and Awe: In "Revelation" Bo redirects a lightning bolt in order to stun Zepeda and his men.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: Subverted. Bo's foster father threatens Zepeda with one while the latter is attempting to abduct Bo. Zepeda points out that at that range a 12-gauge without a barrel choke would kill Bo as well.
  • Stupid Evil: In his quest to recapture Bo, Skouras is burning through field operatives and constantly making decisions that some of his underlings find morally objectionable. His assistant also points out that the constant threats against Bo and her friends are causing her to use up her psychic energy, so she might just end up being burned out or even dead by the time Skouras finally gets her.
  • Tarot Motifs: The opening sequence features three Tarot cards (The Page of Cups, The High Priestess and The Fool) next to a child's crayon drawing.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: If Bo is going to do an impressive, episode-defining psychic move, such as telekinetically lifting a car in front of the FBI agents, it will be in the preview for that episode.
  • Tranquillizer Dart: In "Bang and Blame", Bo gets shot by a tranquilizer dart and develops a bad fever.
  • Undying Loyalty: Winter, Channing, and the rest of the people protecting Bo put their lives on the line to keep her safe.
    • Averted in the third episode, where one of Winter's team members walks away because getting killed was not part of the bargain.
  • Villain Ball: Everything Skouras does seems almost calculated to insure that the people he wants to help him will realize what a bastard he is and turn against him. He doesn't even try to couch his treatment of his subjects as anything other than furthering his personal agenda. It's hard to understand why anybody works for this man for longer than 5 minutes at a time.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Skouras. The first time we see him, he's ordering a hit on a little girl while waiting to accept a humanitarian award.
    • Maybe not that good. In "Sinking", it appears that some of his desperation to reacquire Bo is driven by the fact that the military is getting fed up with his smug bullshit and his inability to produce a reliable psychic operative.
  • Wham Line:
    Channing: You put her with a death row inmate.
    Winter: No, I put her with her father.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Tate initially refuses to fight Moore because she's a woman. After she shoots him, he gets over this.