Netflix is really ramping up their original series schedule this summer, and one of the first ones out of the gate is Between. The thing that sets Between apart from most of the shows in Netflix’s arsenal is that it is actually a co-production between Netflix and Canada’s City TV. What this means for viewers is that episodes debut on television in Canada on Thursday evenings, and they are then made available weekly on Netflix in the US (rather than through the classic model of releasing full seasons at once). Between is definitely an interesting experiment for Netflix here in the states (as they’ve used this model previously in other territories), but it seems to be proving to be a success due to the quality exhibited through the show’s first two episodes.
Here’s a look at why you should be watching Between on Netflix:
Between is about the small town of Pretty Lake that is devastated by a virus that begins wiping out their population. While the virus epidemic may seem clichÃ©, what sets Between apart from similar shows is that this virus only affects people that are over the age of 22. Therefore, the vast majority of the show’s cast are all younger actors. This aspect in and of itself also provides an extremely interesting dynamic for the show. Oftentimes, television shows will exclusively focus on younger actors without giving a reason for the relative absence of adults, leading to a feeling that something’s missing. In Between, though, this absence is easily explained through the show’s premise, so that distraction is eliminated. While the show’s premiere episode showed the cast in a state of unevenness (with Jennette McCurdy’s Wiley being one of the only saving graces), the show’s second episode drastically improved from the beginning, and everyone seems to work as a well-oiled machine quicker than anticipated.
The Set Design and Cinematography
One thing that really stands out about Between is the care that goes into the production. Perhaps taking cues from the great set pieces of somewhat similar shows, such as The Walking Dead, every single building, room, and exterior feels like it’s a part of the rapidly declining town of Pretty Lake. There wasn’t a single scene that took me out of the action due to something appearing to be out of place. The show’s aesthetic really sells the state that Pretty Lake is currently in, and it helps out in more ways than one could imagine. This set design is also propped up through the use of some surprisingly stunning cinematography that completely fits in the style that we’ve grown accustomed to from Netflix’s original series. You could edit two episodes of Between together into a feature film-length movie, and the show would stylistically seem appropriate on the big screen.
The Use of Music
If you ask me, a great show will make great use of music. Two of my favorite television shows have been Friday Night Lights and Parenthood, and I would be flat-out lying if I didn’t say that a big thing about both shows that gives me so much enjoyment is how wonderfully they use music to help the story. Luckily, Between fits this bill perfectly. Interestingly, though, each of the first two episodes has used music in different-yet-equally-great ways. In the show’s premiere, most of the music was through an instrumental score that perfectly played to the creepy vibe of the show’s premise. In the second episode, however, the indie tracks that appear throughout the hour could easily fit on the soundtrack of a Jason Katim’s drama. Both episodes used their selection of tracks appropriately, and it will be interesting to see how music is used throughout the remainder of the first season.
The Blending of Genres
While Between is largely a science fiction drama, the show’s first two episodes have shown that there’s much more to it than a simple “sci-fi” label. Elements of horror appear throughout, by and large because of the nature of the virus. In the first episode in particular, audiences never know when another adult is going to just drop dead out of the blue, and it helps to engross viewers into the action. Family drama is also very present, for better or worse, but it serves to add character progression for many of the leads that wouldn’t otherwise be possible. Action, too, has played a small role, but events in “Who’s the Boss?” make me think that this aspect of the series will begin growing as we move ahead.
Have you been checking out Between on Netflix? What do you think? Let us know below, and tune in for a new episode each Friday through the end of the first season!
[Photos via Netflix]