Holden Matthews wakes up after spending 12 years of his life in a coma. The young man has to navigate what seems like a whole new world, but it’s not just those 12 years that are a mystery to him. He also finds himself with strange new abilities and with people after him.

'Beyond' offers up serious nostalgia in its opening act

The opening of the series has a definite E.T. or Goonies vibe without going full 80s. We open with some family time that shows us the interest Holden has in science and space, but it also involves he and his friend using walkie-talkies to communicate and hang out by the town’s water tower.

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In short - “Beyond” goes in on the nostalgia right away, even though the show isn’t built on it the way something like “Stranger Things” is. There’s something about the coloring and the way the events are shot that really remind me of “E.T.,” even if we’re talking about early 2000s for the events of the opening.

Holden doesn’t adapt quickly

When Holden wakes up, 12 years after falling into a coma in the woods, things are weird - mainly because Holden has missed so many changes in the world. He was about to enter high school when he “slept,” and now, his best friend is married with a kid on the way and a school counselor while his little brother is in college. That’s got to mess with your head.

Holden tells everyone he’s fine over and over, and he acts amused at the changes around him rather than freaked out, but the show does a great job at demonstrating just how much of a fish out of water Holden is. A lot of movies that use a coma in their storylines make the mistake of having their character adapt to the world too quickly. Despite this being a sci-fi series, we have to believe what’s happening to Holden, and allowing him moments of confusion and disorientation allows his story to be grounded.

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From something as simple as his misunderstanding of what an Apple Store is to his screaming in church, we sympathize with his period of adjustment in a way that’s more real than a typical hero’s journey.

Don’t trust anyone

A mysterious woman warns Holden that he’s in danger in the first hour, and she shows up just in time to save his life - after he reveals that he does indeed have some special abilities that involve hitting the ground hard enough to throw people in the air, blowing things up, melting plastic, etc. His abilities are dangerous, but we don’t know all he can do yet.

This woman’s name is Willa, and she knows Holden from his time spent in a coma, which sounds a little out there, but it looks like their experience together is part of the overarching mythology of the show. Point in her favor: she’s not wrong about him not being able to trust anyone as even his best friend from childhood is working for whomever is looking for him, though the gun to his head lets us know it isn’t exactly his choice.

Even though Willa seems to know what’s going on, Holden hesitates to trust her, too. She slips him a phone and he proceeds to ignore dozens of missed calls from her, even though she’s someone who clearly has his best interests at heart - as far as we can tell so far.

The mythology

What we learn in the first two episodes of the series is really just bits and pieces to tease the larger mythology of the show, which reads like a superhero story meets an episode of “The X-Files.” Here’s what we know:

The man in the yellow jacket is dangerous and connected to a mysterious organization.

Willa and Holden somehow knew each other during the 12 years that Holden’s “body was dormant,” and she knows someone named Arthur who Holden has visions of.

Everyone after Holden wants to know what he can do.

The verdict

Intriguing and a great blend of science fiction and mystery, “Beyond” has a lot of promise.

3 out of 5 stars

What’s next

Beyond” airs new episodes following “Shadowhunters” weekly, but if you just can’t wait, freeform is already streaming the season on their app and on demand.