Review: 'Between'

The new serial show BETWEEN, being offered by Netflix in conjunction with Canadian network City, is a show fighting against time.   That’s not the synopsis of the plot but a major weakness in the series itself: pacing.

The plot of BETWEEN, a six-episode season released one episode per week, is that a mysterious virus is killing everyone over the age of 22 in the small town of Pretty Lake.  The disease hits so fast that the adults are pretty much dead before they hit the floor.  There is no chance for last good-byes or parting words of wisdom or even a quick "It’s got me!  You’re the man of the house now!"

That quickness seems to translate to everything on the show. It’s tough to get used to any of the people introduced in the first 10 minutes of the pilot episode, including the iCARLY actress Jennette McCurdy as a Juno-type of pregnant teen (sassy, independent and strong-willed).  There are other teen tropes that have to be represented here as well:  a drug dealer, his hickish brother, the handsome rich boy that hates them both, a third generation, broad-shouldered farm kid, a religious sister to McCurdy and, of course, the smart kid that can hack into government computers at will.

That’s a lot of people to keep track of, huh?   I didn’t even list all of them.  There are so many characters here and so many subplots besides the super-virus that hates anyone with a 401k that when I saw it was only a six episode arc, I was incredulous.  They are going to try and tell a story for all of them, to try and make us care, to love or hate, each of them.  It’s a task they simply don’t have the time to do.

With so many plot-points the show needs to hit, we don’t get any depth to McCurdy or any of the others.  Characters in “Between” aren’t given any time to grieve on screen.  All of their parents are dead and we don’t get to see them mourn at all, nothing more than a quick prayer. Loved ones and mentors seem to die and are forgotten about just as quickly.  Maybe they had time to see a counselor off-screen, but we don’t know as there is no way to tell how much time passes other than a rising body count.  Even the body count, a number that keeps increasing at the beginning of every new scene, seems to rise arbitrarily.  We don’t know if the body count went from 1 to 3,000 dead in a month, a day or even an hour. 

BETWEEN has been given the task of trying to show us everything in a limited time frame, like the friend that goes on vacation and wants to present every picture they took during your lunch hour.  There could be some good stories in there, some interesting things to see, but there isn’t enough time to drum up enough interest to really pay attention.