It's a mystery, thriller, action show with a dash of contagion thrown in. If that's the jam that butters your toast give it a chance. I won't lie, there's a lot of violence but mostly in the beginning. (it's not meaningless though, I explain that later) Also you have to suspend your disbelief but if you can do that it's a lot of fun and has surprising depth. It's rewarding to get to the end, some things makes sense now but there's more story unfolding. This is the most important part of the review so you don't have to read on unless you're interested.
This show keeps you on your toes. There are a lot of flipped expectations. Some are very on the nose but they still managed to be surprising. Also, some of the action scenes are fun to watch. I also think it's pretty different from other shows out there. The whole thing reminds me of a comic book. Also, I was really invested in seeing what came next.
The plot can feel unrealistic but if you think about the world they're living in, it's not our world. It's the kind of world where conspiracy theorists that think a comic is predicting diseases is reality. It's a heightened comic book version of the world. The character relationships are not particularly well constructed. There should be more time for character moments and arcs. Honestly, it's not a character driven show. I mean, I like some of the characters and a few are super interesting but the mysteries and motivations are what's really intriguing. It all feels much bigger than the characters and I like that aspect of it. Just like in life where there's shadowy uncontrollable people and plots that run our society. We don't get to choose what happens on an individual basis, we're just along for the ride.
Also yes, it does have a lot of violence but so do many other shows people like, The Boys and Game of Thrones. That's right, I'm talking to you Amy. I agree that the violence is gratuitous but it does serve a narrative purpose, and if you didn't feel uncomfortable that would be bad. Anyone that likes watching torture should hopefully get some help.
The eye thing is to show you the true nature of the show. It's gritty and shocking. It tells the viewer the show you are watching isn't actually what you thought you were watching. When Jessica shoots that unexpected character it was confusing and made me question my attachment to Jessica and I think that's exciting. The character that died was what the audience thought the main character should be like, smart, compassionate, beautiful, instantly charismatic, the ideal leader, and they totally flip that. Even the characters in the show get a flipped expectation of Jessica. She isn't anything like the comic book hero version. She is very hardened and has to have a large character arc to become likable. If she is going to carry the show in the future she needs a lot of development. All the other violence and death is to show you the lengths the villain will go to to serve his purpose. He's a contradiction, based on the age old question does the end justify the means? He may not be super well portrayed by Cusack but his persona and motivations are so interesting. The scariest type of villain is one you realize makes a lot of sense. This is an underrated aspect of the show. Also the story has you constantly questioning the truth and I really like that.
I think many viewers have become hardened and hypercritical and that's preventing some people from simply enjoying certain shows. We're so used to getting high quality entertainment on streaming sites now, our expectations have gotten really high. Everyone is on the hunt for the next Stranger Things or Fleabag. It's understandable if you genuinely don't like the show. This is not a perfect show, it actually has a lot of flaws, but it might not get a chance to get better if it keeps getting bombed by people that watched less than 2 episodes. Helpful criticism is great but no one profits from 2 sentence 1 star reviews. There are so many amazing shows that got cancelled before their time and we're the ones missing out because of this. Please watch it for yourself and make up your own mind about the show.
Just something to think about:
Creating an entertaining show is a very long arduous process that rarely works out. It involves treatments, scripts, production, hundreds of people, millions of dollars, and even then may not turn out the way it was intended. But it starts with an idea that someone loves and wants to bring to life. There's a lot of hard working people on productions like this and maybe keep that in mind when watching any show. Also, no I didn't work on this show or anything, I'm just saying. Entertainment doesn't have to be technically good to be entertaining. Some people really love cheesy horror flicks, or cringy Christmas romance movies, or the Kardashians. You can find a lot of enjoyment in things you wouldn't expect if you're willing to get out of your comfort zone.
I watched the original right after I watched this one and thought it was also very good. The American version's pacing was too fast in some areas and needed more calm bonding moments between the characters. This is just personal preference but I liked the costume and set design in the American version more while the soundtrack for the original is exceptional and fits very well with the story. I think the cinematography also fits very well with the feelings of paranoia. Some story beats are the same but the characters, general plot, and other important details are very different. The American version is certainly more extravagant but I think it's part of the charm. Another underrated aspect is the comic art. It was gorgeous in the American version. I could see why people would be interested in the symbolism and collection of the comic. The writing in the British version was very smart and the American version occasionally way less so but it has the potential to get better. The character Jessica Hyde is generally more likable in the British version but I think it's okay to not have a likable main character. She's learning to be likable and will be I think, if she's continues her character arc. Arby in the American version is my favorite character. He has a great arc and I love his soft voice and childlike demeanor. He was chilling but ultimately appealing. The characters in general felt more down to earth in the British version, more realistically portrayed. Personally, I like the American version more but I'm not going to say the British version wasn't excellent and it just boils down to my personal preference. I like the British office and the US office but they're like oil and water. It's the same with this show. Take it all with a grain of salt, these are just opinions. The unfortunate reality is that the original premiered in 2013, it'd be very difficult for them to continue the series with the same actors and producers. It's sad they didn't get another season but I wish people wouldn't take it out on this show. They are trying to go in a different direction and that doesn't automatically make it unwatchable. It'll be a shame if it doesn't get picked up for another season. I think people will have missed out, just like with Dirk Gently and Man Seeking Woman.
If you made it to the end of this insanely long review, thanks for sticking with me. I hope you had as much fun watching the show as I did. :)