In the world of television, we often come across crime dramas that keep us on the edge of our seats. The genre has its share of twists and turns, but every now and then, a show comes along that takes the familiar and adds an extraordinary twist, leaving us both intrigued and puzzled. One such series is “Bodies.”
The High-Concept Hook
Imagine this: four London detectives in four different time periods stumble upon the same mysterious body in a limited series that boasts an impressive cast and strong production values. The show’s high-concept narrative is undeniably audacious. It’s the kind of premise that piques your interest and keeps you hooked from episode to episode. But does “Bodies” live up to the hype?
Bodies Review: A Tale of Four Detectives
Detective Saga in 4 Timelines
The first episode introduces us to Detective Sergeant Shahara Hasan, a London detective navigating a far-right rally in the present day. Her discovery of a body on Longharvest Lane sets the stage for an intricate, time-bending storyline. In 1941, we meet Detective Whiteman, who encounters the same body in the midst of a bombing raid. And in 1890, Detective Hillinghead becomes the third investigator to find the enigmatic corpse.
Linking Eras and Detectives
One might think that the uniqueness of this premise would fade with time, but “Bodies” keeps its momentum by introducing a detective from 2053, Iris Maplewood, who continues the tradition of discovering the same body in the future. The series weaves a web of connections through these detectives, all tied to a doomsday cult, an unspeakable tragedy in 2023, and a dystopian future controlled by a charismatic yet ominous leader.
Four Time Periods, Four Unique Detectives
Each of these detectives brings a distinct identity to the show. Hasan, a single mother and a Muslim, faces unique challenges in her work as a cop. Her character provides a relatable anchor for viewers in the present day. Hillinghead, a closeted gay detective in the 1890s, explores his sexuality against the backdrop of a less accepting society. Whiteman hides his Jewish heritage while dealing with antisemitism in 1941. Maplewood, in 2053, grapples with a disability in a future society ruled by the powerful Executive.
From Graphic Novel to Screen
“Bodies” is an adaptation of Si Spencer’s graphic novel, and it pays homage to its origins with the occasional use of split screens that evoke the format of a comic book. The show’s visuals, however, lean towards a more generic, polished look across the different time periods. This decision, while effective, leaves the opportunity to embrace the unique aesthetics of each era somewhat untapped.
An Intriguing Blend of Themes
Balancing Complexity and Character
The show does a remarkable job of balancing character development with its complex narrative. While it may not delve as deeply into larger thematic explorations as the graphic novel did, it offers a rich character-driven experience. Hasan’s struggles with identity, Hillinghead’s journey of self-discovery, Whiteman’s dual identity, and Maplewood’s confrontation with a utopian but authoritarian future all add layers to the story.
Complexity and Clarity
The narrative isn’t without its convolutions, and the multiple timelines can occasionally be bewildering. However, the series keeps viewers engaged with enticing twists and cliffhangers, even within individual episodes. It’s worth noting that while the show’s complexity is one of its strengths, it could have told its story satisfactorily in fewer episodes.
An Ever-Engaging Mystery
The Balance of Mind-Bending and Emotional Depth
One of the most captivating aspects of “Bodies” is how it sustains its mystery and keeps audiences invested in its characters. The show manages to explore time-travel paradoxes without overwhelming its viewers. It strikes a balance between the mind-bending and the emotionally resonant, with a top-notch cast bringing depth and authenticity to their roles.
Shira Haas, known for her remarkable performance in “Unorthodox,” shines in her portrayal of Iris Maplewood. Her character’s journey in the show’s complex and outlandish context is a testament to her acting prowess. The supporting cast, including Jacob Fortune-Lloyd and Stephen Graham, delivers strong performances that add layers to the characters they portray.
The Unpredictable Journey
Embracing Time Travel
While the concept of time-travel paradoxes may seem daunting, “Bodies” presents the fragmented plot and its underpinnings in a clear and accessible manner. It keeps you caring about the characters and their quests, which ultimately makes the biggest question – “Do the pieces all work?” – an acceptable one with the answer, “Close enough.”
Accessibility for All
“Bodies” may have its nerdy moments, but it doesn’t demand its viewers to become time-travel experts. It’s a show that can be enjoyed as a mystery and investigation, with the more intricate physics being an added layer for those who wish to delve deeper.
A Quantum Leap in TV Time-Travel
Joining the Time-Travel Wave
With a slew of time-travel shows hitting our screens recently, “Bodies” stands out as a series that not only takes on the challenge of time-travel but also excels in keeping the audience engrossed. It’s Netflix’s offering to the realm of quantum physics, and it more than holds its own in this fascinating subgenre of television.
The Wild Ride of “Bodies”
In the end, “Bodies” might not be the most emotionally resonant series, but it certainly does justice to the wildness of its premise. It’s a captivating journey that keeps you guessing until the very end, offering a unique and thrilling experience for both fans of the genre and newcomers to the world of time-travel mysteries.
So, if you’re looking for a show that will take you on a mind-bending adventure through time and crime, “Bodies” is a must-watch. Get ready to embark on a journey that will leave you guessing, gasping, and craving for more.