Netflix brings us an interesting show about three strangers trapped in a strange land.
Adam (Adrian Petriw), Mira (Ashleigh Ball), and Kai (Connor Parnall) all wake up in a room together with no memory of how they got there… or of much in general. They only remember their names because they found pieces of paper in their pockets. They manage to escape, discovering that they are in a strange world filled with devil dogs, minotaurs, and a “Weird Guy” (Mark Hildreth), who appears to enjoy tormenting them whenever they call for help. The trio starts to suspect that they’re in some sort of game, and that there are three other people on a “team” against them: Vanessa, Reeve, and Skeet (Diana Kaarina, Alex Barima, Jesse Moss). The three of them must fight to find a way to regain their memories and get home. In Season 2, they find themselves back in the strange world, stuck trying to find their way out all over again, but this time things might not be what they seem.
I’ll start off by saying that this is a kids’ show, although I didn’t know that when it was requested. However, it has a lot of fairly dark themes throughout it, so I wouldn’t recommend it to extremely young kids unless you’re willing to talk with them about what happens in it. Now, on with the actual review.
I appreciate when shows take a risk and starting a show where neither the characters nor the audience understand what’s going on is often a risk. Some shows have used it extremely well, like The Good Place, and some shows have not, like The I-Land. This show comes down somewhere in the middle, but I think it’s more on the side of capitalizing well on the premise. The characters aren’t idiots, and their attempts to figure out what is going on are mostly based on reasonable assumptions and tests. Naturally, they still debate whether it’s actually a game or some sort of purgatory, which becomes more interesting in the second season when they find themselves back in the same world despite seemingly having escaped. I also think they do a good job of keeping the different sub-worlds interesting, usually by having some sort of puzzle or riddle that needs to be solved, often with some outside-the-box thinking.
The show also does a good job of developing the characters in realistic ways, with them often being scared or confused and lashing out at each other, but naturally finding that they work better together than apart. The supporting characters are all weird, but in interesting and even charming ways, as you’d expect from a scenario that could be either a VR game or the afterlife. For example, the Grim Reaper is more akin to his incarnation from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld than from Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal.
Overall, I thought it was pretty fun. Nothing mind-blowing, but it was very compelling and entertaining.
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