Sunday, January 15, 2012

TV Series Review: Neverland

Every year or two the Syfy channel debuts a new, original mini-series in early December that's an retelling of a classic story (not fairy tales so far) and I was excited when I saw the trailers for the latest one, a new take on Peter Pan. I really liked the first mini-series Syfy had done, Tin Man, which I thought was a great example of how to take visual and naming cues along with themes from an original story and incorporate them into a new one, but I didn't like their other work, Alice, nearly as much*. I was hoping the show would be good but a few people on my twitter were live-tweeting it as they watched, I'd had to tape it and wait until I got back home to watch it, which gave me a heads up that this one was closer to Alice than Tin Man.


Summary: How did the cast of Peter Pan get to Neverland to begin with? A re-imagining of the origin story of Neverland, how all the characters got there, why Peter can fly, and why Peter and Hook hate each other so much.

The Good: I liked the premise for the series and in the end it worked well as a prequel, it fleshed out the series some without contradicting the original story (the opposite of the other shows which are implied to be set long after the original story happened). The overall setting was also interesting and left plenty of room if Syfy ever decided to do something with this idea again.

The Bad: While the general idea is rather interesting the execution of the story is not that great and I was disappointed. Most of the acting felt wooden and awkward, occasionally it was hard to figure out why characters decided to go from point a to point b, the beginning took too long and the ending felt awkward as well. As I mentioned earlier, I had heard that this series wasn't great but I heard it from people who are fairly cynical anyway so I don't think that influenced my feelings on this, I really was disappointed by this series.

The Audio: I didn't notice anything particularly special about the music here, possibly because I was distracted by the visuals. In fact, the only thing I seem to remember was that I had to keep turning up the volume to hear the characters talk, I feel like they might have been miked just a bit too low.

The Visuals: For all the advertising Syfy did for this show they didn't seem to give the show itself a huge budget and I winced every time there was CGI on-screen or at some of Peter's flying scenes. Some of the more traditional aspects, like actual sets and costumes, looked alright but there was just so much CGI that I was actually glad that I was knitting at the same time I was watching this, glad that I had something else to look at instead of cringing for five or ten minutes at a time.

So overall another disappointment for me, drat. Although it did remind me that someday I need to go ahead and buy a copy of Tin Man but for now I'm not so optimistic about the new imaginings that Syfy might do in the future (and apologies if this post looked weird, blogger is having one of it's moments).

*the setting was still really cool, I can't think of any others works of fiction with a 1960s mod setting that I've seen actually, but I got frustrated at how Alice was apparently a really good martial arts instructor yet got her ass kicked all over the place and at how she seemed to be falling for Hatter very quickly. You're engaged, presumably to a monogamous relationship, and that's supposed to mean that you're sure you're not going to love someone even more! I only saw the first episode however so I have no idea what actually happened in the second half, I actually disliked the first half enough to drop it.

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