Fantastic show, with unique characters and a lot of quirks. This series has an abundance of style and substance. But the style is what sets it apart. 1960’s inspired deco, unexpected musical selections and the occasional dance number allow the more mundane moments to shine.
The plot actually follows a fairly typical comic book narrative. But, the way it’s presented makes it difficult to see the forest for the trees. Unreliable memories, the story skipping forward and backwards and quick jumps from one location to the next can be jarring at times. And this is much more pronounced in the first three or four episodes. You need to pay attention to the clues and stick with it. The beginning of some of the episodes may be confusing, but you’ll have many answers by the end.
The cast is solid. Dan Stevens, American accent and all, nails the conflicted and confused David. It takes a while for him to come into his own, but it’s exciting to watch him once he gains some control over his spiraling life. Many of the other characters seem odd at first, but Rachel Keller’s Syd, Bill Irwin’s Cary, Amber Midthunder’s Kerry and Jemaine Clement’s Oliver all become a joy too watch. And each has a mutant power that is different than what we’ve seen before.
The show stealer is Aubrey Plaza as Lenny. She takes what starts off as an annoying side-character and turns it into a memorizing performance as she displays different interpretations.
There are only eight episodes, and that doesn’t leave much room for error. The premier is outstanding, but things seem to struggle a bit before continuously improving. The seventh episode was an instant classic, and one of the best single episodes of any show this season. Unfortunately, they drop the ball a bit in the final episode. However, even the few weak episodes were still inspiring. As much as I love this show, I can’t recommend it to everyone. It’s trippy and intentionally confusing, and not everybody will be willing to wait the payoff.
Season’s best episode: “Chapter 7” (Episode 7)
Season’s worst episode: “Chapter 8” (Episode 8)
****1/2 out of *****