JJ Abrams is back with the new must-see TV event, a show called Believe, which sees him working with another luminary in the world of Science Fiction, Alfonso Cuaron
The 47 year old is not only the creator of cult TV series Lost, he is also the force behind movies Cloverfield and more recently the resurrected Star Trek.
That force (or should that be “Force”) is about to be called upon again as he is set to direct the seventh Star Wars movie next year – the first not helmed by creator George Lucas.
Abrams is already back though with the new must-see TV event; a show called Believe which premiered on M-Net Series Showcase on Thursday at 8pm. It sees him working with another luminary in the world of science fiction – Alfonso Cuaron – the writer director of Oscar winner Gravity.
Abrams is famous for turning genres on their head.
His mystifying TV series Lost was originally a standard drama about castaways before he turned it into what he admits was a “world of complete craziness”. ‘It’s great to take something like that, something pre-existing, and build your own offshoot,” he says.
“But there really is nothing I enjoy as much as creating a wholly original piece.”
His latest is a bleak TV series that tears apart what Entertainment Weekly describes as Hollywood’s “signature product” – superheroes. Believe is dark, frightening, and Lycra-free.
The hero does not have a logo, a uniform – and doesn’t understand her powers. It’s a stark contrast to the industrial flow of “name” hero movies, which Hollywood now relies on each summer.
Abrams is determined to tell a more human story. “Steven Spielberg said that ET wasn’t about an alien, it was about divorce,” Abrams says. The director has, in the past, admitted Spielberg is his “hero”. “Superheroes are increasingly ubiquitous on our screens. But this isn’t a superhero show – it’s a show about raising a child.”
The new TV series has been created with Alfonso Cuaron – another director who has, along with Abrams, helped make sci-fi cool, and whose recent space drama Gravity won seven Oscars – takes a rather different approach.
“This is about someone who does grow up with extraordinary gifts, and a man who has extraordinary problems,” says Abrams. “It’s more about raising a child, it’s more about people, than it is about superheroes.”
Despite Abrams’s habit of refusing to deliver what people expect, he’s adored by sci-fi fans.
The show, Believe, turns the superhero story on its head – instead of god-like beings whose origins are explained after they appear, it stars a young girl, Bo (Johnny Sequoyah), on the run after her parents are killed in a kidnapping attempt – with a guardian, Tate (Jake McLaughlin), who happens to be an escaped Death Row inmate. It’s not even clear what her powers are.
“She’s not good at being a superhero,” Abrams says.
“This is a story about a kid who has these very raw talents,” he says.
“She doesn’t know what she’s capable of. It’s a show about what it’s like to raise a kid who is unique, spectacular and has incredible gifts. The best science fiction stories use technology as a catalyst for great storytelling, they’re not about technology.
“You can show and do anything you can imagine. Now that we have got to that place – and Alfonso showed that with Gravity – you’re faced with this question: What are we going to show? What makes it emotional?”
But Abrams believes that the popularity of sci-fi isn’t simply due to the powers offered to directors by computer effects – it’s because we already live in a world that is becoming less human and more robotic with each passing year. – Daily Mail