The big news is that you can’t binge-watch Netflix’s latest US drama Between. Not because it’s awful and you’d be unable to have the stomach for more than one episode at a time (more on that later) but because, just like the olden days, it’s dripping out week by week.
It feels slightly odd that Netflix are returning to a more traditional form of scheduling seeing as everything in Between, in which the small mid-western town of Pretty Lake is quarantined after everyone over the age of 21 is killed off by a deadly virus, seems carefully calibrated to appeal to ‘the youth’.
Pacing about the Netflix boardroom, execs sweated and grappled over what the ‘kids’ would like from a TV show. We’ll have text messages flash up on the screen! Yes, and Twitter too, with those hashtags. Cor, yes, the kids love hashtags. Can one of the characters be a computer hacker? Absolutely, all the kids are computer hackers now. And we’ll have a pregnant one, because the kids do that too these days, and a prison one, loads of kids are in prison aren’t they? And best of all, all those square old adults (22? Ugh, go away spinster aunt!) are dead!
Having second guessed what their teenage children would like, the Netflix bods have served up a wonky, hammy soap opera that’s half Party of Five (look it up, ‘kids’) and half BBC3’s I Survived A Zombie Apocalypse (so much so I kept expecting Nick Grimshaw to pop up in a hazmat suit).
So, as all the oldies spontaneously choke on their lungs and spew gobbets of blood all over the place, the youth are coming to terms with being enclosed in their town with no adult supervision. In good opening episode tradition the central cast, and their central character traits, were trotted out for our viewing pleasure. We have Wiley (Jennette McCurdy), ‘the minister’s fallen daughter’, pregnant by a mysterious father who’s paying her to stay silent (though if he’s over 21, she’s in luck). Not a chip off the old block, she sasses Jesus and is generally very grumpy, even when presented with her new-born son.
Then there’s Adam (Jesse Carere), the troubled genius hacker who was supposed to be off to MiT in the autumn (bad luck, old chap) and Chuck (Justin Kelly) the token rich boy, who hides behind his pig-headed token rich father (parents are so awful!). Brothers Ronnie (Kyle Mac) and Pat (Jim Watson) provide us with the blue collar element, farmer’s son Gord (Ryan Allen) is the strong sensitive animal handling type (and when his father and grandfather succumb to the virus, it seemingly halves the black population of Pretty Lake), and Mark (Jack Murray) is the bad boy, in prison fighting off standard issue, tattooed Hispanic villains who keep knocking things out of his hands.
So what is it that the adults of Pretty Lake are dying from? It’s not excitement, that’s for sure.
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