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Since spirituality is an intrinsic part of what makes us human. Because of that every so often a television network makes an attempt to infuse a spiritual element in s prime time series. The reaction of the public is typically favorable with reasonably long lasting hits such as ‘Highway to Heaven’, ‘Touch by an Angel’ or ‘7th Heaven’. On occasion the series may have exceptional quality but for some reason doesn’t catch on. There are several that come to mind in this category is the extremely short lived ‘Miracles’. This was frequently describe by its creator as a spiritually inclined variation of ‘The X Files’ and if you give that thought a couple of minutes to roll around in your mind you will see that it actually is quite a strong premise full of a lot of potential. The aspects of ‘The X Files’ that worked so well was the man standing alone against an overwhelming tide to uncover the truth. Working against this admirable goal are covert government agendas on a tide of conspiracies. The underlying antagonist in this case was extraterrestrials and their human cohorts. Several valid substitutions were made in the design of ‘Miracles’. First replacing the government as the hub of secret conspiracies is the Catholic Church. For thousands of years people have made accusations against the Church often relating to keeping some vital truth away from the public. Instead of aliens from another planet this series goes for a much older, more widely accepted enemy; evil specifically demonic possession. Finally, instead of a dedicated team investigation paranormal this team looks for signs of miracles, realizing there are both good and evil miraculous occurrences. In other words both sides are able to affect the normal laws of nature. Unfortunately the series didn’t even make it to a full season with only 13 episodes being produced. The one glimmer of good news is the Distribution fell to Shout Factory who has an excellent reputation for DVD editions of cult favorite series.

This series may have met an untimely demise being canceled before it could get its bearings and find its audience but it was influence in the career development of several creative minds active in the television supernatural genre. Series creator, David Greenwalt would go on to ‘Angel’ and ‘Moonlight’ as well as ‘Jake 2.0’ and the SyFy channel’s big hit ‘Eureka’. Head writer Richard Hatem would follow his scripts here with teleplays for such paranormal shows as ‘Tru Calling’, ‘The Dead Zone’ and ‘Supernatural plus the well crafted miniseries ‘The Lost Room’. This presents an extremely strong indication that had the series been given a proper chance it would have succeeded. At least this experience didn’t turn them away from episodic television but it would have been extremely interesting to see how some of the very dark. Deeply interwoven themes presented here could have been further explored. At the core of the series is the belief of one man, Paul Callan, played with a brooding intensity rarely seen on network television. As an actor he has taken this type of role honing it to a wondrous level. Paul is employed by the Catholic Church assigned to investigate miracles. Over time doing this job has jaded Paul; each mundane explanation of the miraculous chipping away at his faith. In the pilot episode it gets to him and he tells his mentor, Father 'Poppi' Calero (Hector Elizondo) that he needs to take a sabbatical.

His rest from his official duties does not last long, interrupted by an urgent call from Poppi. Paul is dispatched to investigate a boy supposedly able to heal the sick. When he gets to where the boy, Tommy Ferguson (Jacob Smith) lives Paul id told he cured his grandmother of terminal cancer. Paul asks to speak to other recipients of the boy’s gifts and meets a young woman. Although her eyes are completely occluded by cataracts she can see perfectly. This goes a long way to restore Paul’s waning faith, at least getting him to think there may indeed be real miracles. There is a dark price that must be paid that changes everything. Every time the boy heals someone his own disease worsens. Paul gets into a car accident and Tommy uses up the last of his ability, sacrificing his own life to save Paul. On the windshield of the car Tommy’s blood forms the words ‘GODISNOWHERE’. This would become one of the unresolved mysteries of the series since some see the message parsed as ‘GOD IS NOW HERE’ while for others it is segmented slightly differently; ‘GOD IS NOWHERE’. What difference the placement of a space makes. Paul comes to the attention of Alva Keel (Angus Macfadyen), a man who has devoted his life to such phenomena and formed an organization, Sodalitas Quaerito (Latin for "Brotherhood in search of truth") to further this goal. The use of the term ‘organization’ is rather liberal since its membership consists primarily of Alva, Paul and a feisty former police woman, Evelyn Santos (Marisa Ramirez). What started to take shape here was a sinister plot concerning people who have seen one form of the message or the other. A serial killer is out to murder people who witnessed the ‘GOD IS NOWHERE’ variation with five dead and three more out there; people Tommy referred to as the ‘Darkness’. Paul is the only one whose blood has spelt out both forms of the message. The series had a darkness that was fascinating. Unlike the spiritually based series with a longer shelf life this one may have been too dark and sinister to catch more than a small cult audience. Unfortunately, this series never had the chance to reach for what it could have been.

Posted 07/13/2010

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