I’m always intrigued by shows that play with the state and nature of reality, or the perception of reality. Whether the tool used to manipulate or alter those realities is extrasensory, magical or technological, seeing how imaginative the stories can get around who’s doing the altering and why appeals to me.
In this show, a company called Onira-Tech has developed a program called “Reverie”, but the question of who’s really in charge of what Onira-Tech does with that technology is still shrouded in mystery after 5 episodes. We know that Charlie Ventana (Dennis Haysbert) is the face of the business, making all the decisions and solving any real-world problems that are connected to Reverie. Monica Shaw (Kathryn Morris) is with the Department of Defense and a colleague of Charlie’s, and while we can guess at why the DoD’s interested in Reverie, we are still in the dark for the moment.
Alexis Barrett (Jessica Lu) and Paul Hammond (Sendhil Ramamurthy) are the creators behind Reverie; Alexis is the coding genius behind the engine that drives the technology, and Paul is the heart and soul of the program’s design and intent.
The person who connects them all is Mara Kint (Sarah Shahi), a former hostage negotiatior who specializes in human behavior. She had previously worked for Charlie, and while he knows the extent of her skills, he also knows that she’s still in an emotionally fragile state due to a devastating personal loss. In addition to getting her back on her feet while helping out Onira-Tech with an unforeseen problem, the Reverie program may well give her a chance to face her loss and heal.
We discover that Onira-Tech customers are becoming addicted to Reverie, not wanting to leave the worlds they’ve designed that can only be experienced in their minds. Whether these people just want to continue repeating a fantasy adventure, or escape from some danger or grief that overwhelms their real world lives, through Mara’s journeys to bring them out of the alternate realities they’ve crafted, we discover how she connects and empathizes with what they are going through (or hiding from), and works to get them to want to come home.
Mara is injected with nanotechnology that allows her to interact with a more advanced version of the program, Reverie 2.0, and she has the ability to go inside other people’s Reveries, their personal worlds. Ideally, having users become addicted to the software they are trying to sell isn’t good for business (or the users), so her job is to uncover what these wounded people are using Reverie to escape from, and convince them to come out, to return to the real world or else their bodies could die.
Paul works the closest with Mara, wanting to keep tabs on how she’s doing emotionally since she’s interacting more frequently with Reverie 2.0 than anyone else. He’s also genuinely interested in her insights into the people she’s trying to retrieve from inside the program, how she plans to connect with them and get them to choose to return home. As the show progresses, it becomes apparent that Mara’s emotional stability is a key factor in her being able to do what she needs to do quickly, since sometimes these lost souls are up against a deadline to come out, or risk dying.
We’ve even been introuduced to a potential antagonist or ally, Oliver, who happens to be Alexis’ former business and romantic partner. There’s still a lot of mistrust and pain between those two, about much more than just the stability and safety of Reverie 2.0. Whether he’s lurking around to undermine Mara or to save her is a mystery at this point.
Reverie is well worth watching, for the emotional connection between Mara and the clients she’s rescuing from themselves, and the true belief that Paul has in the program to help humanity both heal and explore. The relationships between the main characters at Onira-Tech grow closer and curioser, as we wonder what Monica Shaw is keeping back from Mara and Paul, about how much Charlie Ventana is willing to let Monica get away with while still protecting Mara, and how Paul’s fascination with every unexpected or unorthodox use of Reverie that Mara implements seems almost like an revelation or a gift.
Watch Reverie, Wednesdays at 10pm on NBC, or binge on Hulu.
Definitely check out the live-tweeting of #Reverie on Twitter, the cast and writers and they are fin to watch during the broadcasts: @NBCReverie, @MickeyFisher73, @sarahshahi, @Sendhil_Rama, @DennisHaysbert, @JessicaLu, @kathrynmorris
From Mickey Fisher, the creator of “Extant,” this groundbreaking new thriller follows Mara Kint (Sarah Shahi), a former hostage negotiator and expert on human behavior who became a college professor after facing an unimaginable personal tragedy. But when her former boss, Charlie Ventana (Dennis Haysbert), brings her in to save ordinary people who have lost themselves in a highly advanced immersive virtual-reality program in which you can live out your wildest dreams, she finds that in saving others, she may actually have discovered a way to save herself. The series also stars Sendhil Ramamurthy, Kathryn Morris and Jessica Lu.
“Reverie” is created and executive produced by Mickey Fisher. The pilot was directed by Jaume Collet-Serra. Tom Szentgyorgyi, Brooklyn Weaver, Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey also executive produce. “Reverie” is produced by Universal Television and Amblin Television.