I Exist – | Review Score – 4/5
Hair of the Dog – | Review Score – 4/5
Roman Candle – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Tadpole Smoothie – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Jennifer – | Review Score – 3/5
Milk Bath – | Review Score – 2.5/5
Egg – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Bodies – | Review Score – 4/5
Brand New Cherry Flavor is a real oddball series. It’s a show that takes an awful lot of risks; some that pay off and others that really don’t. When it comes to revenge thrillers, it’s incredibly difficult to stand out next to so many others in this field and the fact that this show does, speaks volumes.
Now, taking risks and subverting expectations doesn’t always play out right but what’s here is at least commendable enough to check out.
Brand New Cherry Flavor feels like a heady cocktail of different influences; a little bit of David Lynch and Quentin Tarantino mixed in with the unsettling atmosphere of Channel Zero. For all of its positives though, the show feels overlong and in desperate need of tightening up. Still, the show does have a satisfying conclusion so that’s at least one positive.
At the heart of this show lies aspiring film director Lisa Nova. Set deep in the heart of 1990’s Los Angeles, she’s just finished her first student project, Lucy’s Eye. So unsettling and grotesque is this movie, it immediately piques the interest of film producer Lou Burke. Unfortunately, he completely screws her over and that sets up this revenge tale to follow.
The architect in all this happens to be a strange woman called Bora. She stalks the periphery of Lisa’s storyline, slowly becoming more integral to the story as the episodes progress. There’s definitely an air of “be careful what you wish for” with this, as Bora’s strange witchcraft and rituals allow Lisa to get her revenge – at a cost.
That cost manifests itself during the later episodes in increasingly gnarly and bloody ways. There are a few squeamish moments and a couple of moments that had this reviewer turning away in disgust. This one is not for the fainthearted – and that’s kinda the allure with this show. It’s not gratuitous for the sake of it though, it’s just the stylistic flavour this one’s going for – and it works surprisingly well.
A story is only so good as its characters and Brand New Cherry Flavor has a bit of a mixed bag ensemble. On the one hand, Lisa and Bora get some good development while Lou’s descent is both satisfying and unnerving to watch. By comparison, most of the supporting cast are cardboard cutouts. There’s just not a lot of substance to them, especially Lisa’s friends Code and Christine. It’s not a deal breaker but it is something that holds this back.
There’s also an absolutely bizarre subplot in this involving the undead. I’m being careful not to spoil anything but this is the one element of the series that doesn’t really work. There’s an undertone of absurdist humour to all this that jars really badly with the main story. Whether intentional comic relief or not, it’s a definite black mark on this show.
Despite that though, the aesthetic, style and general risk-taking is commendable enough to look over some of the flaws. It’s undoubtedly a memorable series and feels quite reminiscent to Legion in the way this story thinks outside the box. For that alone, this one should be on your radar. Not everything clicks but the elements that do result in an explosive flavour that’s hard to forget.