PREMIERE: October 13, 2016, 10/9C, USA Network
You know how it is when you wake up from a weird one and the urge to tell someone all about it is so strong that you actually do, even though you know that most of the time, they are simply not going to be interested? This is especially the case because so often you will be halfway through your recounting of the dream, and then you will completely lose the thread of it, because by the time Mulder was playing Canasta with the Pink Ranger, and then the kid from Jurassic Park was there, it’s all gotten so absurd and muddled that you have lost the thread of the narrative and have no idea what happened next. Most likely, you woke up.
Well, the premiere episode of Falling Water feels a little bit like that. Like, its all bizarre and floaty and you know it can’t possibly be happening but it is playing out in front of you so you accept the nature of this reality for a while. And then the episode ends and you feel like you just woke from an unsettling near-nightmare and are reluctant to go back to sleep just in case it all starts again.
Our story, of course, deals with dreams, hence the heavy-handed metaphor. (Of both the show and this review thus far.) Billionaire Bill Boerg (Zak Orth) is desperate to forge a connection, and believes people can connect with others through their unconscious minds, while sleeping. He recruits trend-spotter Tess (Lizzie Brocheré) to undergo monitored sleep sessions, believing — for little to no reason — that because she is completely attuned to the zeitgeist in general, she is the perfect candidate to meet with others in their, or her, it’s unclear, dreams. Sure.
Trend-spotters, meanwhile, have agents and are highly sought after for their ability to pick what the cool new color combinations will be a year from now. They command tens of thousands of dollars to wander through the inner city and find/steal some fashion innovation that will take the early adopters and their followers by storm, as soon as the companies tell us how cool it is. (cf. Scott Westerfeld’s So Yesterday. YA fiction is always right.)
This first episode gives us a lot of set up, and also gives us some insight into the workings of this conversational dream state. Tessa does actually manage to connect with someone else in her/his dreams, and there is an attempt to set up a mystery, where our episode’s title “Don’t Tell Bill” comes into play. (Nice to see a pilot episode not unceremoniously called “Pilot,” by the way.)
Do I care about this mystery? I do not.
Whether it’s the show’s slow pace, its would-be ethereal quality, or its more than passing similarity to shows I actually like — Netflix’s Sense8 comes forcibly to mind — Falling Water just doesn’t do it for me. Nor do I think it has the goods to capture the public imagination like its USA stablemate Mr. Robot, the success of which clearly paved the way for this similarly speculative outing.
You know, they really should have consulted Tessa before they greenlit this thing.
SEASON PASS: No, thank you.