Emergence, which debuted on ABC last week, is another example of a recently well-worn theme back on network television yet again: a child or teenager who mysteriously appears, and turns out to have some kind of superpower.
But Emergence is lifted by its star, Allison Tolman, who did so well in Fargo a few years ago. And Emergence has her playing a police chief (Jo Evans), which, even in a small town on Long Island, is something you still don't see all that often on network TV. And with Clancy Brown, who's been so good in so many science fiction series on television, as Jo's father, there are at least a few good reasons to watch it.
The first episode laid out the groundwork of the series narrative nicely. A plane crashes. Jo finds a girl, who apparently was on the plane, sitting off to the side on the ground, without a scratch. She professes to have some sort of amnesia, but probably she doesn't really have it. She's kidnapped by a couple pretending to be her parents. The kidnap car badly crashes, for no apparent reason. Piper (the girl, not her real name) again emerges unscathed. Later, she removes what is likely some kind of tracking device in her neck.
She wonders if she caused the crashes. Likely she did. Jo knows she's stumbled onto to something important, and we the audience know it's going to be far more important than she realizes.
So there you have it. A pretty good, if not startlingly original, set-up for a series. For me, the tipping point in favor of watching another episode is that this story is apparently science fiction, which I almost always prefer to life after death or magic.
I'll keep you posted.