Between - Season 1 Episode 1
Viruses that kill off people above a certain age are not a new idea in the realms of science fiction and genre television. You only have to look to long running series such as Stargate Atlantis, Star Trek and Deep Space Nine for examples of individual episodes and then there's full series such as The Tribe and Jeremiah that address the concept. But, with most of these series being at least over ten year's old, it was about time for someone to buff the dust off this trope and give it another try.
In Between, we are introduced to the small town of Pretty Lake, population somewhere around eight thousand and rapidly declining. The stage is set with a bunch of varied kids from differing backgrounds who are promptly faced with the reality of all the town residents aged twenty two and over dropping suddenly dead in front of them.
We've got computer hacker and geek extraordinaire, Adam, resplendent in his binary joke t-shirt, big hair and intriguing past (his dad was a geneticist you say? Hmmm...) There's the girl next door, Wiley, pregnant with a child of mysterious parentage; Farm boy Gord, with his overwhelming sense of justice and his nursing skills; Troublemakers Ronnie and Pat are there to provide some light relief, a little burglary and a smattering of drug dealing; Hard man Mark is in prison for something or other; And, to round out what I believe to be the main cast, we have Chuck, the spoiled rich kid who's probably going to cause a lot of problems further down the line.
Now that we've got all of our players on the table, we are treated to several bodies pretty much straight away, ranging from the pious to the privileged. Several days pass very quickly and the town is quarantined. Interestingly, the inhabitants of the town are seen posting about events on social media and we get Sherlock-esque messages flying around the screen, detailing the social media reaction. This feels a little understated to me as, I would have thought that, in this day and age, this story would have exploded all over the internet rather than being just a few hashtags and headlines.
I think, for me, this is where the episode loses me slightly. Ten days pass over the course of this first episode and almost all of the 'grown ups' are dead before it closes out. I can't help but think that the reaction of the townsfolk would have been a little more severe than simply carrying on with their lives until they eventually drop dead. While on the subject of realism, I find myself once again pleading for a showrunner to actually represent computer hacking with any medium other than flashy and frankly ludicrous UI's and ridiculous rates of brute force cracking. The level of brutality on show from the prison guards here also feels a little extreme as it appears to be standard procedure to clout inmates around the head with a baton multiple times even after they have surrendered peacefully following a brawl that they let happen in the first place.
The brevity of these things is likely to be due to the short run of six episodes and the wish to progress the story quickly, but it does feel just a little too rushed.
At the end of this first episode we are left with several key questions, very few adults, some main characters in sticky situations and lots and lots of corpses.
All in all I would say that it's an interesting enough show so far to persevere with in order to see how it progresses. The main cast are likeable enough and will hopefully grow with time as the mystery deepens and the town inevitably begins to fall apart. It currenlty feels very much like it falls somewhere between Under The Dome, Lord of the Flies and Contagion. We will keep you updated with more episode news as and when we get it.
Between will be available on Netflix in the US on Thursday 21st of May and in the UK and Europe on Friday 22nd of May with episodes released weekly from there.