Beyond - Season 1 Episode 1 "Pilot"

Beyond Review: The Year’s First Divine Binge

As if waking up from a coma after twelve years and trying to pick up where you left off weren’t enough, Holden comes to realize he’s got powers. What?!???

To make matters worse, he’s experiencing flashes of a creepy old man and it isn’t long before he meets a mysterious young woman named Willa. Trust no one, she writes on Holden’s arm right before he and his longtime pal Kevin are attacked by a bunch of mercenaries. In the pilot’s coolest scene (and series star Burkely Duffield’s favorite moment) Holden unleashes his abilities rather than watch his friend die. How did he get his powers and how are they connected to his comatose state? That’s just scratching the surface of the ongoing questions the series will deal with in its first season.

Without spoiling too much (and since FreeForm has officially released these sneak peeks), I can tell you that series creator, writer and executive producer Adam Nussdorf has created a world and characters that I instantly fell for. Most of the time, you watch a pilot but probably find it’s way too soon to be invested in the characters. Nussdorf’s magic is that by the time Holden wakes up and his mother hugs him at the hospital, you’re absolutely hooked. It takes a combination of terrific writing, outstanding acting and for the viewer to be able to relate and surrender to their emotions. What if you were asleep and saw your mother again after twelve years? Imagine being that parent, who had probably given up hope that their boy would ever wake up.

Not to bash Star Wars: Rogue One, but that’s a good example of a movie I was really looking forward to yet felt nothing for its characters. To say they were undeveloped is an understatement and though the final act made perfect sense, I did not shed a tear. By comparison, there were several moments during the Beyond Pilot where I teared up. You can witness one of those moments for yourself in the sneak peek below…

Of course then there’s your little brother, who is now all grown up and in college. Aside from Holden/Willa, my favorite relationship on the show is brothers Holden and Luke. How bizarre would it be to learn your kid brother experienced his first kiss, got laid first or even learned to drive before you did? Holden’s fish out of water moments are so much fun to watch, not to mention Luke’s (Jonathan Whitesell) priceless reactions to all those awkward situations. Burkely and Jonathan play off each other beautifully, much like my other favorite bros from Killjoys Johnny (Aaron Ashmore) and D’avin (Luke Macfarlane). The second hour, “Tempus Fugit,” gives us plenty of brotherly bonding when Luke takes Holden to a wild college party. Fun stuff!

I’ll admit the sci-fi elements are what drew me to Beyond, but as with all great genre shows it’s the character relationships that keep us around.

Another piece of the puzzle that keeps us coming back for more is a good old fashioned mystery, and boy does Beyond have some crazy twists up its sleeve. Did the X-Files draw you into Mulder’s alien conspiracy? Perhaps you spent all summer wondering what was inside the hatch that Jack found on Lost? Did Walter Bishop really cross over to an alternate universe in an effort to save his son Peter on Fringe? Those were all narrative hooks that reeled us in and never let go. Was Holden’s consciousness somewhere else while he slept? How did he acquire his insane new abilities and will he grow stronger throughout the season? Who are his friends or foes and ultimately… why did this happen to him?

There are just so many compelling reasons to check out this show and after catching the two-hour pilot you can binge the rest of the season online. Why wait? It’s there for the taking! I think that’s a brilliant move by FreeForm, understanding the way we watch television has changed thanks to Netflix. Waiting a week for the next episode seems so passé, doesn’t it?

Watch the two-hour television premiere of Beyond tonight, January 2 on FreeForm. Then immediately afterwards, hit the Freeform App, Freeform.com, On Demand or Hulu to continue bingeing all ten episodes of Season 1.