There’s something to be said for a TV show that knows exactly what its lane is and fulfills its duties enough to hold together. NBC’s “The InBetween,” Moira Kirland’s new procedural billed as a “paranormal drama,” is a fan of just about every procedural cliche in the book, right down to the cheesy music following everyone between obvious cliffhangers. It wastes no time checking off the boxes that its genres of choice require, especially in regards to its bland cast of characters. Mysterious blonde (Harriet Dyer) with mysterious powers? Check. Square-jawed detective (Paul Blackthorne) with a cocky new partner (Justin Cornwell)? Check and check. Domestic violence crimes with a heaping side of nonsensical twists? Oh yeah, that’s a check.
Every so often, “The Inbetween” shows signs of slightly more individual life than its basic parts would suggest. That square-jawed detective has an equally square-jawed husband and a daughter, Cassie (Dyer), who has powers that range from visceral visions of murders and kidnappings to playing intermediate for restless spirits. “The InBetween” doesn’t explain anything else about Cassie’s abilities beyond the fact of them, which isn’t necessarily a problem; trying too hard to justify a supernatural twist can render it completely boring. Plus, seeing the world — both real and metaphysical — through Cassie’s eyes can be genuinely bizarre and spooky, giving the show a sorely needed of creativity. The bigger issue is that the show doesn’t try very hard to make Cassie herself at all interesting beyond what she can do, leaving Dyer adrift with a surprisingly bland character given the fact that she, y’know, sees dead people. Cassie’s just a cipher for intrigue whose personality traits shapeshift to match whatever the scene requires.
That shortcut instinct goes for just about everything in “The Inbetween.” Despite its attempts to do something new with a well-worn genre, its blunt attempts to shock are somehow both predictable and confusing all at once. Not even vengeful ghost children and hallucinatory murders can make this one all that memorable.
“The InBetween” premieres Wednesday, May 29 at 10 p.m.