Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Pilot Review: Between

Between (Netflix)
Premiered May 21

In the continually developing realm of television partnerships, what we have here is a Netflix coproduction with Canadian network City for this six-episode series that will premiere simultaneously on the American streaming service and on the Canadian broadcaster. What’s most interesting about this show is that it includes an almost entirely unknown cast, something which might actually be to its benefit given that experiencing the apocalypse is often more believable if familiar faces aren’t popping up at every turn. The idea of a virus wiping out all adults and leaving only children is definitely an alluring concept – and I distinctly remember reading some book about such an event when I was a kid though I can’t recall what it was. There are multiple issues, of course, that arise out such a lofty premise, many of which are not resolved in this pilot. Containing the outbreak of this virus to just one area can be handled by not allowing the adults from outside the perimeter in for fear of contracting it, but there are still those over 21 outside who can affect decisions about policies within. Some adults, like Chuck’s father, take much longer to die and therefore still have the ability to practice odd and archaic forms of punishment like tarring and feathering those who offend him. I prefer the idea of the 21-year-old teacher who is going to end up being the moral compass as the elder of the surviving residents. This may be too aimed at young adults for my taste, but if the writing and characters were a bit better, this show could actually be decently compelling, and now is just the time to launch when it may manage to build and attract an audience.

How will it work as a series? Netflix is unfurling this show one episode per week, which is how I watch all of my shows but a notable departure from its unusual all at once format. That should allow suspense and anticipation to build, but especially if this show gets better as it goes along, it could well lose viewers who might be more likely to binge now than wait patiently until more shows premiere this summer.
How long will it last? It’s hard to know how ratings will be measured since Netflix data is remarkably hard to come by and its future isn’t entirely dependent upon its success in Canada. I think this show won’t attract the viewership it wants to and that six episodes will be all it gets.

Pilot grade: C+

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