Episode 1 -| Review Score –4/5
Episode 2 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 3 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 4 -| Review Score –3/5
Episode 5 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 6 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 7 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 8 -| Review Score – 4/5
La Revolution has absolutely nothing to do with the French Revolution. Despite being set in the same time period and sporting a couple of similarities, this is very much a show marching to the beat of its own drum.
If you can get behind that, you’re sure to have a good time with this horror/thriller mash-up of vampires, viral outbreaks and maniacal villains. If that all sounds too much, then La Revolution will not be the show for you.
The story, taking place in 1789 no less, begins with arguably one of the best opening scenes from a show this year. A blood-spattered horse rides through the frozen, eerily quiet streets of Paris. A young warrior steps off her horse and severs the head of a panicked man trying to escape. As he falls on the floor, blue blood oozes from his neck.
This sets the tone nicely for what follows as this blue blood becomes a central theme to this 8 episode reimagined drama. While the show does use elements of period history to try and weave an alt-history story, this show plays much closer to something like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies or the excellent Korean series Kingdom.
In essence, this is basically a vampire origin story, with a growing divide between two sides spilling over in spectacular fashion in the final episode.
To backtrack slightly, the tale itself is woven around a highborn girl Elise and her sister Madeleine. The latter appears to have the gift of foresight, cursed with seeing fragments of a nightmarish future where these Blue Blood maniacs take over and conquer France.
Elise meanwhile finds herself longing for her lost love Albert, who died during his time in America. She finds herself in a power struggle back home as her Uncle Charles looks poised to usurp control from her Father who’s currently missing in action.
While this is going on, a woman named Rebecca is brutally murdered. The culprit, aptly titled “The Cannibal” appears to be an African man named Oka who’s taken to jail and awaits his execution. Only, physician Joseph and his assistant Katell are not so sure he’s responsible and try to uncover the truth.
Peppering out these two storylines is a resistance group known as the Brotherhood who work on behalf of the people. Only, they’re matched in power by Edmond and his guards who stand ready and willing to fight for France.
All of these groups are thrust into action by the introduction of a manufactured blue liquid that turns its victims into maniacal, ravenous beasts lusting for blood.
There’s actually quite a lot going on in La Revolution but the middle chapters do tend to lull a little between an excellent first and eighth chapter. There’s some definite highlights here but the show flits between investigative work to uncover the blue blood origins and learning more about Elise and Madeleine’s past.
This one certainly won’t be for everyone and in many ways, the cinematography actually betrays the storytelling. The camera work and technicality on display in this show is so far ahead of the simple plot work.
There’s some gorgeous one-shot takes, a gripping final action piece at the end and lots of interesting work done to make this as accurate to the time period as possible. That plays back into the costume work which features some gorgeous gowns and flamboyant frocks.
If you’re looking for an accurate depiction of the French Revolution then La Revolution will almost certainly disappoint. The entire show uses the French Revolution as a platform to portray a viral outbreak/vampire hybrid story. It’s certainly intriguing and entertaining, but also sure to alienate people too – especially if history buffs find this coming up on their Netflix feeds.
If you can go into this one with an open mind, you’re sure to have a good time. It’s best not to think too much about what happens (yes it’s one of those shows) but the excellent cinematography and costume work make this a visual treat.
It may not be the envisioned history some may be expecting, but if you’re looking for something with a bit of a fantastical bite, this one’s certainly worth a watch.
Verdict - 7/10