A GIFTED MAN “Pilot” Season 1 Episode 1 - In this new supernatural drama, Michael Holt, a successful and slightly arrogant neurosurgeon, finds his world turned upside down by the appearance of his dead ex-wife. It isn’t the most unique of premises and, to be completely honest, I was expecting the pilot to be like a very short Hallmark movie.
But A Gifted Man surprised me – it’s actually really good. We, the audience, are alerted to Anna’s death when Michael thinks he hears a car accident. It’s not until two weeks – and a dinner date with Anna – later that Michael finds out she’s dead. Cue the only really weak part of this episode: Michael searching for causes of hallucinations online. He’s a neurosurgeon – surely he would use proper medical databases or textbooks?
Anna’s reason for being back in his life after death is a good one – she has unfinished business and she wants him to help her finish it. Whether or not this is a ploy on her part to improve him, the show is definitely served by the lack of ‘I’m here to make you a better person’ dialogue that is often used in supernatural shows. The change in Michael’s attitudes are understated and a byproduct of him dealing with Anna’s presence and her wishes. There are no big clunky monologues when he opts to do the child’s operation himself or when he goes to see Anton to ‘expel’ Anna, he just does these things and ends up better of for having done them.
Michael also has family to think about in the form of his sister Christina and nephew, Milo. This part of the show only works for me because of Michael’s easiness around them. Even when he’s unhappy, it’s still easy to see how much he cares for them and how close they are. Without this, I could see Christina and Milo becoming tiresome very quickly; Julie Benz’s Christina seems like a happier version of her old character from Dexter, and Milo is the stereotypical troubled teen of a single parent.
The only thing about this episode that I really disliked was the direction. As attractive as Patrick Wilson is, it felt like every other shot of Michael was a close up of his face. It often felt like Michael was trying to interact with the viewer instead of the character he was engaging with – very distracting.
Summary: A great episode with a lot of promise. I worry about how long the premise will last before it becomes stale, but I’ll definitely continue watching.
What did you think of the A Gifted Man pilot? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!