Starring a charismatic cast, Netflix’s new fantasy series Lockwood & Co, released on January 27, proves that quantum realms and alternate dimensions are outdated.
Based on the popular YA books by acclaimed fantasy writer Jonathan Stroud, creator of the Bartimaeus books, this flamboyant adaptation of writer-director Joe Cornish (Attack the Block) introduces a supernatural world full of phantasms and ghosts. be deadly
Opening on aristocratic teen Anthony Lockwood (Cameron Chapman) and his partner Lucy Carlyle (Ruby Stokes), Lockwood & Co. is like a gothic Kingsman crossed with Ghostbusters.
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Armed with swords and salt bombs, our brave duo advance as we approach the suburban swarm with its towers, porticoes, and ominously overgrown façade. In a carefully designed set piece that showcases his combined powers, he sprints to the ground and the audience instantly, effortlessly takes the hint.
Starting from a junk with a spiritual presence and some stylish flashback stories, our dynamic duo jumps straight from the burning building to encounter DEPRAC.
The Psychological Research and Control Department is a governing body that oversees every so-called paranormal institution, enforces penalties and warns criminals accordingly. Unfortunately, with a client’s home in ruins, operational oversights in the spotlight, and an unapproved employee in tow – Lockwood & Co soon finds themselves in hot water.
With a two-week period to find thousands or face closure, our ingenious duo, complete with an IT Crowd-inspired spin from Ali Haji-Heshmati as George, must think fast or face disgrace.
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Struggling with bureaucracy and the prejudices perceived by more successful institutions, the duo begin to get to know each other in the process. A situation that gives viewers the opportunity to watch talented actors bring this detailed world to life.
The first thing impressive in this Netflix original series comes down to aesthetics, as production designer Marcus Rowland (Last Night in Soho) blends gothic steampunk invention across Lockwood Headquarters with more brutal architecture as audiences move to London. There’s a real sense of history around the house on Portland Row, akin to 12 Grimmauld Places in Harry Potter without the stark overtones.
Competing agencies and DEPRAC’s headquarters feel corporate in nature, though this entire series is thankfully free of any social media influence. Part of the temptation to open up this alternative perspective on modern society is to see how these changes affect storytelling. In the case of Lockwood & Co, that means less distractions and more focus on character, which enriches the whole thing as a whole.
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No one takes a wrong step on this show, as intriguing twists and turns fall into place, and new character flaws are deftly exposed. There is almost no difference in performance between Ruby Stokes, Cameron Chapman and Ali Haji-Heshmati because they complement each other so well.
Other welcome spins on this supernatural tour de force include Nigel Planer as Sir John Fairfax and Inspector Barnes by Ivanno Jeremiah.
Inspector Barnes is neither an advocate nor a heartfelt detractor of a triple threat that includes DEPRAC, made up of individuals and organizations that would benefit from seeing Lockwood & Co.
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That in itself makes this series more interesting, as the motivations are inherently painted in shades of gray throughout. These fresh-faced newcomers try to compete with agencies using only their wits, giving this opening season a real sense of reality.
Fans of Jonathan Stroud’s books await a veritable feast in this first season of gripping mystery with head-to-toe titles. There are hints of old-school Spielberg, with Cameron Chapman giving some serious Young Sherlock Holmes vibes, Ruby Stokes standing out as his resourceful accomplice.
On top of that, Joe Cornish, who also directed The Kid Who Will Be King, has proven adept at drawing performances from the young central trio who instilled a true sense of maturity at Lockwood & Co.
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Similar in ton to Locke & Key, which saw Emily Jones come forward, this youth-focused supernatural series could still spawn stars of its own. With an outstanding supporting cast that seems to truly understand the purpose of bringing this material to life, audiences are unlikely to see Lockwood and Co. for the last time.
Lockwood & Co. will stream exclusively on Netflix from January 27. Watch a trailer below.