TV Series Review
The epidemic is just going to be murder on the tourist season.
Or so I'd assume. I don't know if Pretty Lake is a tourist hot spot. But given that the area does indeed boast a pretty lake, it's a reasonably safe bet. Plus, the whole place has that cloudy, gloomy charm that seems all the rage on television these days. "Come for the lake, stay for the clouds!" might be a good motto.
'Course these days, a more fitting slogan might be, "Come for the lake, stay because you'll be shot if you don't—and you'll probably die anyway!" Pretty Lake is under mandatory quarantine, you see, thanks to a disease that kills everyone over the age of 22. One minute the oldsters are fine, the next they're coughing up bloody goo and slipping into the current eternal.
The goo seems a horrible way to go. But if I were a resident of Pretty Lake, I'd consider the dead the fortunate ones. The folks left are more than just suitably chiseled and telegenic: They also seem to be terrible people.
Take Wiley, a teen mom who refuses to let a little lethal pandemic put a crimp in her bad attitude. When Wiley's mother dies, Wiley's sister, Melissa, cradles the woman's bloodstained head in her lap, praying over the body. Naturally, this enrages Wiley, and she demands that her grieving sister stop it at once. Melissa suggests that a little prayer might not be amiss at a time like this, given they all could keel over at any minute. "Eternal damnation is a possibility," Melissa says, as gently as one can say that sort of thing.
"I don't want forgiveness from you or God!" Wiley thunders, storming out—forgetting perhaps that her mother just died on the kitchen floor!
Then there are the brothers Ronnie and Pat, who think a small-town cataclysm is a great opportunity to steal a new truck. Or Chuck, the rich kid who nearly ran Ronnie and Pat over in his sports car. And we can't forget Adam—the would-be MIT student who is smart enough to hack into the government's super-secret disease quarantine website but doesn't bother to wear a surgical mask in his uncle's corpse-filled laboratory during the Ebola-like outbreak.
OK, so maybe not everyone in Between is completely horrible. And I'm sure, in the way of youth-oriented dramas, we'll discover that most of these survivors are just misunderstood. Still, if this represents the future of Pretty Lake, I'm not optimistic about the town's long-term chances.
Between is Netflix's first real attempt to cater to teens who spend their evenings watching CW or ABC Family. It stars Jennette McCurdy—an actress who once fronted Nickelodeon's iCarly and Sam & Cat. The latter show was canned after some tawdry McCurdy selfies popped up online and she made some rather disparaging comments about the channel. But starring in this Netflix show might be deemed cruel and unusual punishment.
Contrary to its typical binge-friendly release schedule (that is, entire seasons released all at once), the online entertainment kingpin has taken a more traditional approach here: Both it and its Canadian distribution partner, City, will release one episode a week, just like most TV outlets did back in the olden days of 2012.
Think of it as a slow leak from an already half-flat ball, both artistically and morally. Because while the content quotient may be on par with what Hollywood execs think is suitable for teens these days, it's still pretty bad—from the goop oozing out of people's mouths to the outrageous excuses made to get the Pretty Lake pretty people naked to uses of the s-word, redeeming elements are few and far between in Between.
Crude or Profane Language
Drug and Alcohol Content
Other Negative Elements
Other Belief Systems
Readability Age Range
Jennette McCurdy as Wiley; Jesse Carere as Adam; Jack Murray as Mark; Brooke Palsson as Melissa; Justin Kelly as Chuck Lott; Ryan Allen as Gord; Kyle Mac as Ronnie; Stephen Bogaert as Charles Lott Sr.