In the US: Thursdays, 10/9c, USA. Starts October 13
You'd be hard-pushed to think of anyone who watched more than an episode or two of Netflix's Sense8 and thought to themselves, "Let's have more of that, please." Well, maybe a few masochists and sex-starved teenagers, but that's about it.
And to be fair, Falling Water, USA's new show about three strangers who (literally) share a dream has been in the works since 2013. But you'd still have thought USA would have put an end to it as soon as Sense8 came out, not just because of the similarities but because Sense8 really is that bad.
Maybe they thought to themselves, "Well, it's a bit different. Maybe a bit more like Inception or Dreamscape. We can get away with it, surely."
No. You can't, USA. Because Falling Water is almost as bad as Sense8. Almost.
Here's a trailer that's about five times more exciting than the first episode.
An intersection between reality and unconscious thought, FALLING WATER is the story of three unrelated people, who slowly realize that they are dreaming separate parts of a single common dream. Each is on a quest for something that can only be found in their subconscious. However, the more they begin to use the dream world as a tool to advance their hidden agendas they realize that their visions are trying to tell them something more, and that their very real lives are at stake.
Is it any good?
You might want to watch it because of the cast, the visuals or the central concept, but Falling Water will leave you as insensate as Sense8 did if you do.
The show sees Lizzie Brocheré (Braquo, Versailles, RIS Police scientifique - Une vie brisée), a 'trend spotter' who helps corporations predict what's going to be cool in six months' time so they can earn lots of cash, constantly dreaming about giving birth to a freaky looking kid. She's convinced that she's had a son, but for some reason can't remember him, except in her dreams.
Meanwhile, corporate security honcho David Ajala (Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands, Black Box) is dreaming about one of his company's potential security risks. Oddly, said risk knows what happens in Ajala's dreams - and might also know where Ajala's missing girlfriend has got to. Assuming he didn't just dream her.
Rounding off the trio is Will Yun Lee (Strike Back, Witchblade, Elektra, Bionic Woman), an NYPD detective investigating a suicide cult while nursing a sick mother. Sometimes he dreams about Brocheré's dream child, sometimes about his mother.
A further complication is Icelandic communications billionaire Zak Orth (Revolution, Fringe), who believes it's possible for people to enter each other's dreams and is willing to pay lots of money to Brocheré to give it a try.
And for some reason, the word Topeka (the capital of Kansas) is important, too.
Falling Water's pilot episode does its level best to convince that's it's clever television, rather than bobbins of the first order. Largely, it does this through intriguing direction by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (Intacto, 28 Weeks Later, Intruders) that blurs the line between reality and dream, with hints of the formalism of Inception as well as the surrealism of Adrian Lyne's Jacob's Ladder (which in turn was influenced by Francis Bacon's works).
However, the other major way it does it is by having a good, soft-spoken cast, particularly the Shakespearean-trained Ajala, and being very, very slow. By the end of the pilot, although lots of hints have been dropped that something is up, not much has actually happened, let alone been revealed, the three dreamers haven't properly met each other and you've no idea why you should be watching any further episodes beyond an almost Blade Runner-grade naff voiceover to explain the plot to you.
Falling Water is nowhere near as ridiculous as Sense8 but neither does it have Sense8's energy or endless, practically direct-to-camera speeches about the value of diversity and tolerance, which at least were a mission statement of sorts. It's certainly miles away from Christopher Nolan's finest.
Whether you watch it or not, and there are certainly better shows to spend your time on at the moment, I suspect it'll be gone like a dream at the end of its first season.
- October 31, 2016: Third-episode verdict: Falling Water (US: USA)
A review of the first three episodes of USA's Falling Water
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