Emergence: Season 1 (2019)

Season 1

Critics Consensus

Led by an outstanding Allison Tolman, Emergence avoids becoming just another mystery-box mess with strongly-written characters that will keep viewers caring no matter the resolution.



Critic Ratings: 28


Audience Score

User Ratings: 90
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Air date: Sep 24, 2019
Air date: Oct 1, 2019
Air date: Oct 8, 2019
Air date: Oct 15, 2019
Air date: Oct 29, 2019
Air date: Nov 5, 2019

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Critic Reviews for Emergence Season 1

All Critics (28) | Top Critics (10)

ABC's Emergence looks like it could be a winning proposition. And even if the suspense and premise begin to sag, there's always Allison Tolman to keep hope alive.

Sep 24, 2019 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…
Top Critic

This isn't "Fargo," it's not "Lost," but better than ripping off either of those shows, "Emergence" might just be good.

Sep 24, 2019 | Rating: B | Full Review…
Top Critic

A shame this wasn't really set on the Island, but the decent "Stranger Things"-loving pilot offers a reasonable approximation.

Sep 23, 2019 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Tolman finds emotional, subtle beats that lesser actresses would miss.

Sep 23, 2019 | Full Review…

"No Outlet" is the episode that most series tackle, but is necessary at this point in the story. That doesn't make it particularly noteworthy, but it is crucial.

Sep 25, 2019 | Rating: 3.3/5 | Full Review…

The show's premise is nothing wildly new, but Emergence hits the more predictable beats as well as you could possibly hope.

Oct 18, 2019 | Full Review…

Supernatural mystery has strong cast, lots of violence.

Oct 7, 2019 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Overall, Emergence is a very ABC mystery show. In fact, it is so much on-brand for the network that one wonders how it was ever an NBC consideration in the first place.

Oct 7, 2019 | Full Review…

'Emergence' is a thrill ride and a supernatural, sci-fi mystery that will keep you guessing.

Oct 5, 2019 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

Though the family drama isn't as compelling as it should be, the show plants enough seeds to make for an interesting premise, and Emergence is worth checking out to see how it all unfolds.

Sep 25, 2019 | Rating: 7/10 | Full Review…

Tolman brings to the role the warmth and shrewdness she did to a similar part in FX's Fargo; it's a pleasure simply to watch her think through the case.

Sep 25, 2019 | Full Review…

Emergence's pilot is a pleasantly spooky hour, with some not-all-that-faint echoes of Netflix's Stranger Things. It's aided immeasurably by the casting of Tolman.

Sep 25, 2019 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Emergence: Season 1

  • 3d ago
    I was cautiously optimistic the first couple episodes. I enjoy a good mystery/thriller however most network ones fall apart pretty fast. Emergence had my attention the first couple episodes but by the 4th, ive lost interest. The writing is getting bad already. For instance, within a matter of a minute or so, the chief went from being deathly afraid of the girl to adopting her. Because the girl saved a turtle. I REALLY wanted to like this, but it looks to follow the same pattern as so many failures before it. The ratings are dropping as well so i suspect this wont make it past the first season.
  • 3d ago
    Very well written mystery. Fantastic plot, cleverly themed and titled episodes, great cast and overall good show! I love the character dynamics, the way they work well together.
  • 4d ago
    STORY So, you are wondering, "what should I watch today?" and you see this mystery series and exclaim "yet another one, huh?". It even has Terry O'Quinn in it. But then you are a sucker, like me, and decide to watch the show anyway, and then it hits you. Emergence is not yet another mystery show. The primary reason for this is its pace, that by genre standards it may be too fast. The mystery about the child's identity is resolved (at least to what it seems to be a significant part) by the end of the 3rd episode and the start of the 4th! I would have preferred maybe for it to be dragged a little bit more, like a couple of episodes not much. Look at what I am saying! Of all people I am the one who is complaining about that. I suppose "those things" in the 3rd episode should have given me the heads up. Without spoiling anything, with the mystery gone and the identity of the child known, a number of things can be explored and existential questions to be asked. SUSPENSION OF DISBELIEF As with all genre shows, a certain amount of suspension of disbelief is required. As a biomedical scientist (but not a physicist or a computer scientist or etc etc) and as a sci-fi fan, I have to say that the plausibility of the show is not far fetched. Personally I expect those things that are happening in the show to happen within the next few decades, ranging (for those that are more plausible) to ~20 years and others (those that seem less plausible now) to take place within the next ~70 years. Despite the fact that everything is happening now, my suspension of disbelief held its ground, unlike many police procedural shows (I am looking at you CSI). DIRECTING/PRODUCTION There isn't much to say about these two. Both are of standard quality. This is an ABC show with a full season (expected to run for ~20 episodes). As such you should not expect something extraordinary, which sometimes (but not always) we see at series with less episodes and a longer production time, as is the case for some Streaming Providers' series. ACTING Now, this is where the show excels. Allison Tolman is doing a great job and so does Donald Faison. When they are interacting together they can relay their "confusing" feelings and thoughts, about their relationship. Alexa Swinton also does a great job and she has a difficult job at that. Another example of great acting is how Allison Tolman/Jo Evans reacts to the revelation about Alexa Swinton/Piper's identity. It is there through her expressions, as you would expect. FINAL VERDICT A great show, that is worth your time. If it was a show from a streaming provider, and if it had less episodes and better production value, it would have been perfect. All that remains now is for it not to fall in the trap of many mystery shows and not to be dragged unnecessarily. Stories have a beginning, a middle and an ending. When you try to drag the middle part in order to milk a series, then the quality drops altogether. A way that this is being achieved in this genre is by adding more and more layers of mystery (I am looking at you American Horror Story). The show is great, but I can't see it going past two full (~20 episode long) seasons. It should not go past that. Many shows fail at this part nowadays. They initially are going too slow, they add too many stories and subplots and then when the show has reached its Xth season and has to be cancelled, it goes too fast in order to wrap things up. I can totally see this happening at this show, although, hopefully, the show's creators will not fall in those traps. They should stand their ground and say to ABC "our story is that of 2 seasons, take it or leave it."
  • 4d ago
    Boring. The acting is pretty bad especially Allison Tolman . All she does is make "faces".
  • 6d ago
    I love this show. The characters all have real depth and the writing is great. Fabulous acting throughout.
  • Oct 15, 2019
    It has a slow start and the main actor could do better. Not exactly my favorite, but it is holding my interest so far. I hope it picks up faster and gets to the point a lot sooner.
  • Oct 15, 2019
    Really enjoy this show. I look foward to the next episode. Keep it up.
  • Oct 15, 2019
    I really like this show so far because i love supernatural and mystical shows. But I'm a little surprised about how quickly the main character Jo reveals literally all the secrets about Piper to all the people around her. Usually in a show like this, the main character has to keep the secret about the supernatural forces but in this show, everybody knows and it's not even a big deal to them.
  • Oct 13, 2019
    Love the show! LOVE Allison Tollman!!! Hope they keep up the excitment and intrigue!!!
  • Oct 13, 2019
    It's great. Can't wait for upcoming episodes.

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