Past Life stars Kelli Giddish as a psychologist who teams up with a former cop (Nicholas Bishop) in order to investigate crimes that involve “past-life trauma”. Set in Washington D.C., the show is somewhat similar to another FOX series Bones, in that most of the show focuses on its characters instead of what they are doing. In the first half of the episode, we learn that Dr. Kate McGinn drives a truck, loves dogs, is very particular about her coffee, and has a kooky mom who doesn’t believe in marriage. Meanwhile her partner (and probable love-interest as the series progresses) is former cop turned detective Price Whatley, who was fired after sinking into an alcoholic depression over his wife’s accidental death, which he blames himself for. At the beginning of the episode, he is skeptical about what they’re doing, but “he needs the money” and is superstitious. There are also two other regulars, fellow doctor, Rishi Karna, and their boss, Dr. Malachi Talmadge, but they don’t really add much to the show other than awkward humor.
The show should have focused more on its plot. This week, a troubled teenage boy’s mysterious visions and confusing behavior led to the fact that he was a re-incarnation of a little girl who was abducted and murdered. McGinn explains the concept of past lives as if it were post-traumatic stress, leaving her patient to deadpan, “So you really believe in all this crap?” A FBI Special Agent, who doesn’t even bat an eye in disbelief, aids them in the search for the girl’s killer. Similarly, the boy’s mother and the family of another abducted girl all easily accept this concept, and by the time the murdered girl’s father is found, Det. Whatley warms him up to the idea by saying that he has “seen some amazing things” because of “this case, or the crazy woman standing next to me”.
Even though Past Life has a unique, interesting concept, it seems to be put together poorly. In the end, the only thing original about it is the odd, sunset-like orange tint that most of the scenes are filmed in. FOX showed the first episode on Tuesday night, but that same episode will air along with a new one this Thursday. After that, it goes to its regular time at 8 pm central. Despite the fact that it will attract Bones viewers, Past Life doesn’t really stand a chance against its competitors, CSI and Grey’s Anatomy, in the ratings.