The Messengers: "Awakening" Review - IGN
The Messengers

The Messengers: "Awakening" Review

Falling From the Sky

The Messengers: "Awakening" Review Image
For the past couple of seasons, The CW seems to be really trying to fill their lineup with more adult genre television, focusing its audience above and beyond its usual love triangle driven drama. Joining it's genre heavy roster, The Messengers -- debuting Friday -- tells the story of of a group of individuals in various locations who suddenly drop dead, only to come back to life not realizing how different they've become in the process.

With a big ensemble cast vibe, the pilot follows several different characters who are impacted by a blast, seemingly brought on by a meteor crashing to Earth. The spread out characters all live extremely different lives, telling a number of individual stories. These characters are really what works the most in the pilot. Each is unique and, for the most part, come with a significant amount of backstory and baggage to contribute moving forward.

This includes a scientist named Vera (Shantel VanSanten), who is among those who die and comes back to life. This storyline in particular appears to be central to the show and is a true high point. It's where the suspense and curiosity really comes in and VanSanten's performance as an intelligent woman who seems to have some emotional trauma in her past is very effective. There's also Erin (Sofia Black-D'Elia), a young mother whose death -- though most of these occurrences are thought to be near-death experiences -- winds up upsetting her ongoing custody fight with her daughter's father. Erin has to make a difficult choice that looks to drive a strong portion of the emotional impact of the show, along with the story of a teenage boy, Peter (Joel Courtney), who's bullied and picked on in school both before and after his death incident. He and Erin both show signs of some notable after-effects from their would-be deaths which left me with questions I'm interested to see answered and explained in the future.

There's also a preacher named Joshua (Jon Fletcher) tangled up in some family drama with both his overbearing father and his pregnant wife. Admittedly, this wasn't my favorite of the individual storylines, as it seemed a bit strange and soap opera-ish, though we'll see if it unfolds into something different or more nuanced. Vera is presented with an opportunity that appears to put her in opposition to Joshua's mission, which hopefully will elevate Joshua's storyline in the process.

In general, the female characters are a real asset to the show, as Vera and Erin have two of the most complex, dramatic and emotional stories coming out of the pilot episode. Both ended up being the arcs that felt most engaging.

Throughout the pilot, the characters start to slowly hint at moving toward a common place. This is comforting because their distance early on could leave something to be desired concerning how well the story will evolve and how the characters' stories will collide. It seems that problem will likely be solved as Erin encounters Raul (JD Pardo), who was impacted by the blast under much more dangerous and gritty circumstances and is now on the run. It's hard not to ponder what these characters will be like when they all come together and Erin and Raul have a strong onscreen chemistry that could provide for a cool story between them both moving forward.There's a bit more mystery surrounding two other characters - Rose (Anna Diop) who who meet in the jarring first scene of the pilot, and a character who goes unnamed and is listed only as "The Man" (Diogo Morgado). The Man emerges from the supposed meteor crash, popping up in the stories of a few of the characters. He could be our villain but his presence is unexplained for the time being, to the point that anything could be true.

The religious elements in The Messengers can be a bit heavy handed at times. This makes sense, at least, in regards to Joshua's role as a preacher and the nature of the characters' rebirths, but could feel a bit overwhelming to some if it continues at a high level throughout the series. Though like much of the pilot, it could ultimately play out in a lot of different ways.


Overall, The Messenger's first episode is intriguing. There's a heavy dose of set up, though there's also plenty of uncertainty as to what exactly is going on, perhaps to a fault, as the situation is pretty murky right now. It left me feeling a little uninterested at times, only because I kept feeling like I should have a better understanding of the situation, and the characters being so spread out is a hindrance in the early going. All of that could change quickly, but does reduce the impact of the pilot on its own and the show will hopefully benefit drastically from the potential merging of all of these characters arcs and getting to see them interact with each other in a way that drives the story, rather than following each on their own. Fingers crossed, as there's potential here for an notable, complex plot moving forward. The Messengers premieres Friday, April 17th on the CW. [poilib element="accentDivider"] Layne Morgan is a writer for IGN TV. You can follow her on Twitter at

In This Article

The Messengers

In the white-hot sun of the New Mexico desert, scientist Vera Ivanov watches in fascination as a mysterious object plummets to Earth, sending out a shock wave that briefly stops her heart. But Vera is not the only one affected: she is instantly and mysteriously connected to four other strangers, who also collapse only to come back to life hours later.
Networks:The CW
Release Date:April 17, 2015
The Messengers: "Awakening" Review
The Messengers: "Awakening" Review
The CW's new genre series has an interesting set-up, but hopefully evolves into something even stronger moving forward.