Review of FreeForm’s Beyond pilot episode

If you’re a fan of Stranger Things on Netflix you’d probably like “Beyond” on Freeform because the sci-fi show seems to follow a lot of good things that Stranger Things does right. Most notably Freeform has decided to allow you to binge the entire season online if you can’t wait for the show to air weekly on the network.

The sci-fi series follows Holden Matthews played by (Berkeley Duffield) who after a mysterious and possibly alien light shined down on him as a 13-year-old, ended up in a 12 year long on explainable coma. Doctors have no idea why he came out of the coma or what caused it but Holden’s mother and father (Romy Rosemont and Michael McGrady) are just happy to have Holden back – so they don’t question the miraculous details. Unfortunately, it soon becomes clear that Holden’s transition back into life won’t be smooth because he has some intense supernatural powers and is told that “They” are after him.
Joining Holden during his post-coma reentry is his younger brother (Jonathan Whitesell), whose interaction with Holden is probably the best part of the two hour-long premier. The brothers seem to bond well over time and even the on answered questions about what really happened to Holden and the emergence of a mysterious girl named Willa (Dilan Gwyn), who brings a conspiracy which reminds me a lot of the X-Files into play on the show. As expected she literally tells Holden not to trust anyone. Some of the writing is a little blah, to be honest. Holden’s best friend Jeff (Jeff Pierre) seems to be the only character who is fully formed at this point and serves as a reminder to Holden about the disconnect between his current life and his old life.
Beyond has a Steven Spielberg movie feel to it with all the lens flares, bright shining lights, and a subtle drawback to E.T. with a bicycle race through the woods. Duffield’s Holden is so innocent in the show that the audience is able to accept things that fall on the edge of being unbelievable. You end up feeling for a Holden as he attempts to navigate the New World that he was thrust into after waking up and adjust to the superhuman abilities he struggles to control. The tension between Gwyn’s Willa and Holden makes you feel like she cares for Holden and that relationship is probably something that will last the entire running of the show.

The main negative thing about the show is that the conspiracy storyline isn’t given very much explanation as of yet and doesn’t seem to be a part of Holden’s re-entry into the post-coma world he’s currently in. The conspiracy part of the show actually could make a nice spinoff following the mysterious members of some unknown and possibly governmental organization and their lives. I assume at some point these divided storylines will intertwine and eventually make for a fun and exciting sci-fi show. But until then, with Freeform’s with Beyond you’ll get a conspiracy, supernatural abilities, and a few heart-warming family moments to give you those warm fuzzy feelings.

Luckily the premiere of Beyond was able to hit the right notes that all successful shows seem to have included in their pilot. They let the mystery of what happened to Holden have enough room to intrigue the audience without overwhelming them. The supporting characters are pretty good and seemed to cause a lot more questions about holdings mystery then answers. Hopefully, as the season moves along Beyond will be able to fill in all of those gaps.

The two hour-long premier for Beyond airs on Freeform tonight! Will you be watching?

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