Even if you are an REM hater, 'The End of the World As We Know It' has never been more boring than in Between. A co-production between Netflix and Canada's CityTV, it sees virtually everyone in the absurdly titled town of Pretty Lake aged over 21 keel over and die of a mysterious, unknown ailment. With thousands dead in just a few days, the government quarantines Pretty Lake, sticking an electric fence round it, leaving behind a town full of kids running riot while surrounded by the slowly putrifying corpse of every adult relative and mentor they've ever known.
The latter point should be a dramatic focus of the show, you'd have thought, with traumatised teenagers and infants blubbing and suffering from shock at their terrifying orphaning. But although episode two managed to give us kids dragging the dead bodies of their parents et al into a communal pit filled with thousands of bodies, followed by a group cremation, generally they've not been that upset. A bit miffed and puzzled as to what's happening; a bit keen to send lots of texts, mope around with their boyfriends and girlfriends, and settle old scores with a bit of glowering. But they were actually all a lot more saddened by their loss of mobile phone coverage in episode three.
As I mentioned in my review of the first episode, the show almost goes out of its way not to be too interesting or Lord of the Flies. None of the characters have anything going for them, having the self-centred entitlement of the typical teenager combined with the collective charisma of Ryvitas and a complete inability to care about the horrific deaths of their own parents right in front of their own eyes - not a Bruce Wayne among this lot, it seems. The show pushes the envelope of plausibility to open up possibly exciting plot scenarios, by giving the small town of Pretty Lake not only its own prison full of murderers but a zoo from which a tiger has escaped. But it's a sign of the pausity of the show's storytelling capabilities that this has so far failed to produce even the slightest thrill. There's an escaped tiger everyone… an escaped tiger. No? Don't really care. Okay.
Between's biggest lure is its mysterious ailment, neither bacterium nor virus, affecting only those over 21 and striking without symptoms or leaving a trace. Yet the show leaves that lying around in the background, barely touching upon it, in the exact same way Revolution chose to ignore its electricity-destroying nanites until it was too late for anyone to give a toss about them.
So after three episodes of enduring mind-numbing tedium, combined with a laughable ability to paint even a slightly plausible picture of either small town or post-apocalyptic life, I'm thinking it's time to give up on this. But, you know, whatevs.
Barrometer rating: 5
TMINE prediction: If Netflix renews this for a second season, I'll eat my hat
- June 12, 2015: What have you been watching? Including Big Hero 6, The Audience and Hannibal
A review of the TV, films and theatre I saw in the week ending June 12 2015