So we watched it all in the last two days.
It took us a long time to decide whether we liked it. We never hated or loved it. We warbled between "this is okay" and "this is pretty good." We almost certainly would have dropped out were it a week-to-week cable program. But it's not. It's a whole season of a horror show.
The premise is that a rich kid, Roman, who doesn't know much about himself or the world meets a drifter, Peter, who has more of a grasp of the supernatural. Both teens are fatherless and live in a small town. Around this time, a girl is brutally murdered in what looks like an animal attack. The murderer must be found and the secrets of the town must be unearthed.
Here are the good things:
- The mysteries keep you coming back for more. We kept watching because we wanted answers.
- If you like gore, the gore is pretty fantastic. The werewolf scene we mentioned in the last post about this show remains bad ass. Great transformations.
- Interesting characters, interesting creatures, interesting backstories.
- We liked Bill Skarsgard as Roman.
- We liked the music at the end of the episodes.
- This show feels like True Blood in tone. Campy, a little slow, scary, gross, messed up, and interesting. and is not afraid to go to weird places...or kill some characters
- We like how the show struggled with themes of "the darkness within" and self-loathing.
- One of the twists genuinely surprised us.
- It respects the lore that came before it.
- There are two strong female characters, and they are even complex to boot.
- We were able to watch it in two days and not get sick of it, and that says something.
- We appreciated that the show was available in Spanish and had Spanish subtitles. One of us is trying to learn that language and it was less of a waste of time if Spanish words were running at the bottom :-)
- Famke Janssen should never have attempted a British accent because a) her character isn't from Britain and b) she sucks at British accents.
- Some of the acting was lame (although it really might have been the writing making them look bad; some of the stuff was hard to work with).
- A lot of the dialogue was lame.
- Rape and the way the show handles rape. It's almost exploitative the way the first attack is filmed to look like a rape. The author of the original book strikes us as an obvious douchebag. He once said, "You can pry my rape scene out of my cold, dead hands" or something like that. He wanted this show to be a "hard R," and clearly thinks that this will make it edgier. But smut for smut's sake doesn't automatically make something quality. Just ask Starz. We don't want to spoil anything for you, but one of the rapes was really disappointing for viewers.
- Most of the violence is against women and there are women getting jealous of other women. Most of the women are portrayed as either Madonnas or whores.
- It's hard to find a character to like or root for. It's kind of cool that nearly every person on this show could be the murderer and you don't find out for a long time, but if you don't have a main character to hang your hat on, it's hard to get attached. Even after a whole season, we don't love any of the characters (even if a few of them are interesting).
- This story could have been told in ten, 40-minute episodes, rather than dragged out to make 13, 50-minute episodes. There were some slow bits and it came from padding, not an uninteresting story.
- The motivations of a few characters were muddy or unbelievable. One villain was pure, one-dimensional eeeeevil.
- One of the "twists" was so easy to call that Ern called it immediately after the question was raised, and you will too. Ern can usually never predict anything.
- It definitely qualifies as garbage to one of us. It's not gonna enrich your mind or soul or anything like that. You're not gonna feel good after you watch it.
If this show is successful enough for Netflix, there will probably be more to come. The writer of the original book has a sequel ready and a third book outlined. We'll chum on up to our couches and watch the second season when it's one. That's the final proof that we liked this show, overall. But we wouldn't be back if it weren't on Netflix, a whole season ready to stream. It wouldn't be worth following weekly. But we love a binge.
Season Grade: B-