Frequency, Pilot (2016) – CW's Intricate Parallel Story about a Father and Daughter

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

One of fall 2016’s most popular trends had to do with the curiosity that is time travel. As all do, where one leads, the others will follow. Networks like NBC tried time travel with Timeless, ABC attempted and (sadly) failed with Forever, and later this winter, ABC gives it another go with Time After Time. CW threw their hat in the ring with this based-on-a-film script.

Once upon a time Frank Sullivan (Riley Smith) was the center of his daughter’s world. He was her best friend and confident in his work. But that was an eight-year-old’s perspective of a safe world. Twenty years later, that little girl no longer exists. Raimy Elizabeth Sullivan (Peyton List) is all grown up with a successful life, despite the stains of her father’s past.

Twenty years ago her father walked out on her and her mother, and shortly after was killed during his undercover operation. The worst was when every paper in New York labeled him a dirty cop. Since then Raimy has distanced herself from her memories, become an NYPD detective and has the love of a good man, Daniel (Daniel Bonjour).

Everything changes on her 28th birthday, when a radio signal somehow connects her with her father… living a parallel life twenty years, to the day, before.

Nine times out of ten, I find a good story on CW. This record remains intact with Frequency, which is a smart story albeit one that’s eerily familiar. For me, this has nothing to do with the film since I’ve yet to see it (which stared Dennis Quaid and Jim Caviziel), but more by its comparable plot currently vying for prime ratings.

The amazing thing about Frequency is how easily it “hooks” its viewer, and furthermore, keeps that interest. Or it most certainly accomplished this for me. The story isn’t new in many respects, but in others it is. I loved the complex conflict between the characters, which I’ll confess puzzles me since I’m ordinarily not a supporter of (TV) discourse.

The sense of tension between Raimy and her father was interesting as is the fact they set a course that will lead them towards discovery. Discovery of things about the other person. Discovery of the past and its disappointments. Discovery about the time capsule separating them. It’s a clever mystery to say nothing of its heart which meets at the father/daughter relationship.

There are so many emotions in the pilot. My TV fangirl heart felt joy, heart break, and after it shattered, it was put back together only to break yet again. Yes, the first 40-some minutes did this and so much more. Funnily, this didn’t get an additional back order, but in my opinion, it’s far and away one of 2016’s best new shows. While I like these sorts of shows (when the good guys are good guys), I also respect and appreciate a show that can give us a cypher united with a generous script of the important moments. This one boasts that and then some.  

Those of us who like shows with a little bit of everything (from mystery to sci-fi, romance to emotional pull) will find a kindred spirit in Frequency. Sadly its ratings aren’t all that optimistic suggesting a cancellation is likely. It’s the kind of show that left me wishing for so much more after one episode. Furthermore, it’s a world I’ll be sad to see vanish from my TV screen.

Content: there’s one scene of an unmarried couple in bed together (semi-graphic), and the common place profanity. There are some (non-graphic) crime scenes. (All based on the pilot.) The show is rated TV14.

Photos: CW

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