Not all Netflix series are on equal ground. The latest production by Netflix is titled rather aptly because in every respect, Between TV show comes off as a low-grade placeholder amidst the higher profile earnings of the popular streaming channel. But then, you have to realize that the septuagenarian tag team seen on Grace and Frankie and played by Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin or the complex Frank Underwood from House of Cards played by Kevin Spacey wouldn’t survive for even a day in the picturesque setting of this six-episode series called Pretty Lake.
Contrary to the usual binge-watching model that Netflix offers, each episode of Between will premiere over six consecutive Thursdays. Early in the first installment, we see a mysterious disease spreading in a small Canadian town and eliminates everyone above the age of 21. A touch of Under the Dome can be seen as a barbed-wire fence is erected, the military comes in and the remaining citizens are left to provide for themselves. The biggest name of the series is Jennette McCurdy, the iCarly star, who plays a cynical teen named Wiley, pregnant by some mystery guy.
The world may be falling apart around her, but Wiley is busy making a lucrative deal with the family lawyer that allows her to keep the identity of the baby’s father to herself and give away the baby once it is born. There is also the resident introvert named Adam, played by Jesse Carere, who attempts to figure out what’s happening once this young-adults only cataclysm strikes. But, his troubles don’t earn him much or anything that’s useful because he gets stern rebukes from soon-to-be deceased family and his friends and some bullet shots sent his way by the steely soldiers responsible for guarding the town’s gates.
There are also some other characters including Gord, (Ryan Allen), a salt-of-the-earth farmer who is rather skilled in birthing humans cows alike and carries a loaded shotgun with him at all times. There is also a spoiled rich boy who is positioned to lord over the survivors with his privilege and power and also a local jail’s young and tough prisoner who is on the wrong side of his fellow inmates and guards.
The intrigue of a post-apocalypse world is determined by the people left behind and these are a badly acted and bland bunch. The only few kernels of interest are the what-if scenarios that were concocted by Michael McGowan, the creator. As all authority figures are decimated, what would you do? Steal the car you wanted? Sulk in your room? Use a gun on everyone who irritates you? The most genuinely sad and upsetting moment in the first couple of installments is when a preadolescent boy gets behind the wheels of a car, as his parents are dead, and accidentally runs over the older brother of another kid.
This throwaway scene gives a better display of the world off its axis than the other melodramatic scenes that were cooked up by the creator and overseen by Jon Cassar as director.