Episode 1 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 2 – | Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 3 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 4 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 5 – | Review Score – 2/5
Episode 6 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 7 – | Review Score – 3/5
Netflix’s latest supernatural series Spectros is a tale of two halves. On the one hand, the show does reasonably well to keep things interesting, with a good dose of mystery injected throughout. However, the lacklustre production design, questionable editing and disappointing antagonist make this a real love/hate series.
The plot revolves around three diverse teenagers – street-smart Pardal who lives in the slums, bully Carla who feels like she’s not good enough to live up to her Mum’s expectations and Mila, a girl struggling to look after her crazed Father whilst being bullied by Carla. These three characters are thrust into action thanks to the arrival of a strange porcelain doll. This doll, as it happens, holds the key to saving the world against a maniacal mad-man named the Necromancer who’s raising the dead for his own diabolical schemes.
The first half of the series tackles the kids and their journey to that very first scene in the police station featuring this doll, before building up to a final fight with the Necromancer, who’s revealed around the end of episode 4. Along the way the show peppers in some light characterisation and snapshots of romance but predominantly Spectros revolves around this supernatural element.
The story itself has a tendency to spiral out from one central point, skipping backwards and forwards through time. The problem with doing this, especially for the lengthy jumps backwards, is the distinct lack of dramatic tension. We know the kids will be fine because they’re in the station. We know they’ll eventually be caught by the police because the very first scene shows them arrested. These moments feel like a misstep for the show when perhaps a more linear progression may have served the show better.
Thankfully, this sporadic time-hopping disappears after the first half of the show, and with each episode clocking in at around 38 minutes (except for the hour-long finale), it’s a relatively easy show to get through. From here, things move into a more linear narrative and slow the pace down before building up again for that aforementioned finale. Along the way there are some nice twists and the final episode certainly raises the stakes, rounding things out with a welcome resolution and a satisfying enough conclusion to this tale.
Stylistically, the show has a tendency to feel quite cheap at times. The scenes featuring kids driving were clearly filmed in a studio against a projected screen, the visual effects aren’t always great and some of the ideas don’t always mesh well together. There is some humour in here but it always feels a little too forced. There’s some character building too but it lands way too late in the series to actually feel like anything other than an after-thought, and the entire premise hinders on an idea that feels a little disappointing when the big reveal surrounding the Necromancer presents itself.
There are so many other shows in this genre that Spectros has a really hard time standing out, oftentimes flitting between horror, comedy and teen drama without landing many of them that well. The show is enjoyable enough to watch through to the end, and the episodes are pretty short so it’s easy to binge, but this is unlikely to be a series you’ll return to in a hurry – or remember for long – when you’re done with it.