Alarm bells – well, apps – are ringing in near-future Seoul, with love in the air and a telltale throbbing in the trouser pocket.
Yes, Love Alarm is back for a 2.0 Netflix series and, ramped up from series one, the cutesiness is in overload mode, the dreamy-creamy lovey-doveyness is on ultra-soppy setting and the soft-focus, slow-motion lovers’ gazes drown viewers in candyfloss.
But maybe that’s the sly genius of Love Alarm: perhaps life’s best bits should not be reducible to an algorithm on a mobile phone. Perhaps, whipping it out at the merest vibration shouldn’t amount to the greatest excitement you’ll have each day (notwithstanding the infernal jingle that accompanies every throb).
Users of the Love Alarm app can detect current squeezes and potential admirers within 10 metres, but because student Jojo (Kim So-hyun) has installed a blocker, complications have arisen. Jojo and Hye-young (Jung Ga-ram) have mismatched Love Alarms, so it’s unclear who really has the hots for whom – which lets sulky, rich, entitled pretty-boy model Sun-oh (Song Kang) into an awkward love triangle … and never mind his doting girlfriend, Yuk-jo (Kim Si-eun), who deserves better.
Where digitisation dominates, conversation and empathy are dead.
The Nevers – surpernatural drama swirls in Victorian London
The Nevers (HBO Go and HBO, weekly, from April 12) takes us on our first visit (by way of the X-Men) to grotty old Victorian London.
In this innovative, genre-bender of a series, the city is spellbound by a supernatural “happening” (featuring some sort of retro-futuristic flying machine resembling a giant, glowing fish) that bestows on women, mostly, but also some men, bizarre abilities, known as “turns”.
These we might consider superpowers, after a fashion. But such is the blinkered nature of the citizenry and the authorities that just because one of the “touched” has become a sadistic serial killer, suddenly they are all guilty. Fear not, though: prominent among the guardians of the “afflicted” are soothsayer and expert brawler Amalia True (Laura Donnelly) and inspired inventor Penance Adair (Ann Skelly), who motor around town in a pre-steampunk Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (without the wings) as occasion permits.
But even they can’t stop the perfectly cast Nick Frost stealing scenes as Declan “Beggar King” Orrun, a frightening combination of the worst traits of Oliver Twist villains Fagin and Bill Sikes. A fellowship of the disenfranchised? More like every freak for him or herself.
The Irregulars –new Netflix show puts a spin on Sherlock Holmes
And now for something completely different: a novel presentation of Sherlock Holmes, just when you thought you’d seen it all.
Slipping in and out of a noxious cellar below an even grubbier Victorian London are The Irregulars (Netflix, series one now streaming), a tattered bunch of young adults living on their wits and not much else. An incarnation of the Baker Street Irregulars informants’ network relied on by Holmes, this misfit crew is led by street-smart Beatrice aka Bea (played by Chinese-born Thaddea Graham), cunning, capable and surprisingly compassionate.
But the big twist is the recurring absence of Holmes; and why not, considering most of his stories were first told from the perspective of Dr John Watson? Here, Watson (Royce Pierreson) is a mysterious dandy with a brutish bedside manner who hires The Irregulars, while Holmes, initially, is merely glimpsed in a junkie’s stupor or heard throwing up.
The grimy unfortunates prove adept at far more than just snooping. They crack crimes themselves by defeating the murderous, the possessed and even squadrons of killer ravens as London is tormented by another procession of supernatural terrors.
Psycho-chiller is the main flavour of this unusual perusal of the paranormal, contradicting its partial “teen TV” rating. It also sabotages Conan Doyle conventions: Holmes and Watson lauded for others’ detective work? Now that is irregular.Internet Explorer Channel Network