In 2065, selfie drones have replaced selfie sticks, and seeing who you are speaking to has taken on a whole new dimension, literally, as their entire person appears in front of you in full 3D. Face to face chats are so 2015. "Minority Report" wants to dazzle us with these special effects and take the cop show to a new level, but its version of the police procedural offers nothing new, despite its efforts to amuse us with futuristic tech.
Based on the 2001 Steven Spielberg film starring Tom Cruise, the show picks up where the movie ended. When we left Tom, the PreCrime program was dismantled. The system used three people who could see the future in order to prevent violent crimes before they happened but it was being tampered with and members of the public were being arrested for crimes they may have chosen not to commit. As the television series begins, Dash (Stark Sands), one of the three, has anonymously emerged from his protected life of isolation, driven by his need to stop the murders he sees. He partners with D.C. homicide detective Lara Vega (Meagan Good).
The film version was a thought-provoking look at ethics, justice and free will. The television version is a buddy cop show with added special effects. Its themes don't run too deep and are helpfully stated in exposition in case we miss them. In a 3D phone call, Agatha (one of the precognitive three) says to Dash: "You think you can fix the past by meddling with the future." She continues: "You're so haunted by other people's futures you forget the only future you cannot see is your own." It's not particularly compelling stuff.
On a positive note, Good and Sands do not give bad performances, and their chemistry works. Their characters have some ok buddy cop banter as Lara pokes fun at Dash's awkward social skills but their relationship is particularly eye-rolling when she tries to analyze his motivation. She offers this as the reason for their newfound partnership: "You know what it's like, don't you? Losing everything. Growing up without a mother. That's why you came to me. That's why you put yourself at risk." To give some background to this: Dash failed to save a woman who died trying to protect her daughter. As a child, he was taken away from his drug addict mother, a fact that is mentioned in the voiceover introduction to the first episode.
But it's a good thing Lara gave that speech. We might have missed the connection. As for Lara, we learn that her willingness to enter into their risky partnership is fueled by her drive "to stop one before it happens." Just guessing here, but I think Dash will probably be able to help with that.
To be fair, a crime of the week police procedural does not have to spend a lot of time on cops debating moral dilemmas but when it's based on a film that explored these types of questions it sets up expectations that it will at least try and rise above the typical format. This "Minority Report" is unfortunately, firmly stuck in routine territory.
"Minority Report" is on Mondays at 9 p.m. EDT on Fox.
Melissa Crawley is the author of "Mr. Sorkin Goes to Washington: Shaping the President on Television's 'The West Wing.'" She has a Ph.D. in media studies and is a member of the Television Critics Association. To comment on Stay Tuned, email her at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter at @MelissaCrawley.