Years ago, when I first experienced the German thriller Dark, it quickly claimed the top spot on my list of favorites.
Since then, many other shows have attempted to surpass it, but the foreboding Sci-Fi atmosphere of Dark remained unrivaled.
Now, Netflix’s new series, Bodies, has come close to achieving what Dark did, at least in my opinion.
Based on SI Spencer’s Graphic novel of the same name, the mind-bending show is spread across eight episodes, clocking a length of just under eight hours.
My review is pretty late and I am darn sure social media must be ablaze with this British series’ heroics.
Detective Shahara Hassan discovers a dead body at Longharvest Lane, Whitechapel, only to later realize that the same man was found dead in a similar fashion over a century ago.
But that’s not it. As the past comes running behind, the future also holds keys to the mystery.
Created by Paul Tomalin, Bodies stars Amaka Okafor (Shahara Hasan), Shira Haas (Iris Maplewood), Tom Mothersdale (Gabriel Defoe), Kyle Soller (Alfred Hillinghead), Jacob Fortune-Lloyd (Charles Whiteman), Gabriel Howell (Elias), and Stephen Graham (Mannix), among other talented actors.
What Works for Bodies?
The concept is spell-binding, to say the very least.
There are four different timelines with four different protagonists. The only similarity is the ‘man’ they find dead.
So, four murder investigations are launched, one each in 1890, 1941, 2023, and 2053, respectively.
The convoluted narrative that unfolds in the aftermath takes your breath away.
Bodies masterfully embraces the enigmatic world of Sci-Fi without overplaying its hand.
The storyline encompasses an array of scintillating elements, including suspense, mystery, thrills, and a constant rush that keeps you on edge.
It leaves you simultaneously baffled and captivated, never letting go of its intrigue.
The unpredictable plot of Bodies keeps you guessing with bated breath, fostering a sense of curiosity, bewilderment, and disorientation through its dark and twisted storytelling.
Moreover, the suspense is baffling. Dipped in mysterious chaos, it evokes your senses and forces you to think with your detective hat on.
Simultaneously, Bodies brings an arousing spell of thrill to extract thunderous goosebumps.
The background music does its job of fueling buildups and producing revelations.
If I had to highlight a standout aspect of Bodies, it would be the presentation of the screenplay.
The makers fluently switch the transitions from one timeline to the other and keep up the storytelling pace using a tantalizing screenplay.
There is the required crispness in whatever takes place on the screen. You might find the events confusing, but their depiction overpowers the odds.
Furthermore, the Sci-Fi part of the story feels complete and fulfilling.
It has the impetus, which ushers in an unprecedented grand finale.
The writing, of course, is taut and noteworthy. Plus, it has not been exactly replicated from the graphic novel. If you find the show puzzling, know that the book is even more confusing.
Lastly, the final episodes of Bodies are high on everything the genre stands for.
They give you the chills, the thrills, and the satisfaction you have been craving for a long time.
How are the Performances?
Amaka Okafor plays Shahara Hasan, the detective who starts the proceedings for Bodies. She hones a determined presence and articulates it superbly on the screen.
Her gritty act allows the story to grow on the audience. Okafor’s calculated and well-thought-of expressions build a strong foundation for the show.
Shira Haas as Iris Maplewood adds a touch of fluency to a crucial character. A grayish enigma surrounds her personality, making her an individual to watch out for.
She relays poignancy through her dialogue delivery. Also, emotions are well held by Shira Haas in Bodies.
Kyle Soller’s portrayal is brilliance personified. He plays Alfred Hillinghead and springs into action from the very first frame.
His adjustment to the UK of the 1940s is sharp as Kyle gets into the skin of the character. His pauses give rise to introspection while his restrained intensity offers insights into Soller’s acuity as an actor.
Jacob Fortune-Lloyd brings Charles Whiteman to Bodies. He has a towering personality and a valiant arc that is demonstrated outstandingly in the series.
The affable side to his depiction is more pronounced than the hot-blooded one, which, without taking anything away, is what makes you vouch for him
Gabriel Howell as Elias shines brightly in this British series. His deposition of vulnerability and how he holds his breath while doing so has the potential to send chills down your spine.
Playing Mannix, Stephen Graham goes on to create his own dark world where, more often than not, he is an unlikeable character.
He never lets slyness get the better of him.
What Doesn’t Work for Bodies?
The show is slow initially. In fact, it is a slow-burner for the most part, an element that will test your patience.
Also, Bodies is convoluted to the extent that you might give up watching after a point. The first 3-4 episodes are hard to comprehend.
When seen together with the dwindling pace, it just pulls the series back a bit.
Interestingly, the same features work as its plus points as well. Had there been no puzzle, the twists and mysteries wouldn’t have been worth it.
Stream or Skip?
Bodies is one of those shows that you can watch more than once and still have goosebumps. So, undoubtedly, I recommend streaming it.