WonderCon 2018 Review: NBC’s Reverie Doesn’t Live Up To Its Dreams

Picture Inception but less gritty and less stylized, sprinkle in some of the elements of Black Mirror’s “San Junipero”, and add more commentary on cell phone addiction, then you’ll have a fairly good idea what Reverie is like. NBC screened the pilot episode of the show, which is scheduled to premiere in Summer 2018, at WonderCon 2018.

The basis of the show is a corporation has developed a Virtual Reality program that allows users to enter a dream world of their own making. You can communicate and interact with dead loved ones, revisit favorite memories, and do pretty much anything else you want. To the surprise of no one in the audience, people got hooked on Reverie because it was so realistic. Like the scene in Inception where people are addicted to dreaming because it has become their reality, the same is happening for Reverie users.

So far, a handful of individuals have become so immersed in the program, their bodies are now comatose and they’re dying. The only way to save them is to wake them up. For that, you need someone to enter the dream and convince them to re-join the real world. That is what Sarah Shahi (Mara Kint) is hired to do.

Shahi was a skilled police negotiator. When her former boss (Dennis Haysbert) comes to recruit her, she is a college professor teaching kids these days to look up from their phones and read other people’s body language. She has a lot of recycled views on today’s technology and it’s negative effects. So maybe it’s slightly poetic that Shahi goes to work for a company that uses social media to create believable, virtual versions of dead people for real people to interact with in their dreams.

Despite using untested technology to share a dream space with another person, Shahi is a natural and soon masters the process of entering and escaping Reverie. Before the first episode ends, she’s already hiding a secret of her own: Reverie is recreating a version of her dead niece. The little girl and Shahi’s sister were killed in front of her by her brother-in-law who then shot himself.

The show’s trailer reveals the visions of her niece will continue to grow. It will eventually include her sister and brother-in-law as well and they may bleed into the real world. That plot point may be enough to make Reverie worth watching. As it stands after episode one, there is little that is new, clever, or intriguing to get you hooked. Almost every idea feels lifted from another show or movie. Reverie is lighter, both in tone and look, than its sources of inspiration. If you’re looking for an NBC version of Inception or “San Junipero”, then this may be the answer.

Check out Reverie for yourself when it premieres this Summer.

Stephanie Coats
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