Brave New World – | Review Score – 2.5/5
The Gorgeous Palaces – | Review Score – 3/5
The Insubstantial Pageant – | Review Score – 3/5
Many Goodly Creatures – | Review Score – 3/5
The Cloud Capp’d Towers – | Review Score – 3/5
The Great Globe Itself – | Review Score – 3.5/5
The Dark Backward – | Review Score – 3/5
The I-Land is a show you need to persevere with to get to the good stuff. Everything from the premise through to the characters and ensuing mystery gives the show a feel of emulating LOST early on. The characters, for the most part, fail to grow into their roles too and although there’s some nice reveals peppered throughout the series and an ending that, for the most part, resolves things in a satisfying manner, The I-Land fails to really capture the emotional depth the characters really need to sell their parts.
The premise begins simply enough but quickly escalates to something far more interesting and thought provoking. 10 individuals awaken on a beautiful island, exactly 39 steps from one another, each carrying a different item in their possession. Dressed in the same clothes and with no knowledge of who they are or what they’re doing in paradise, tensions soon rise in the group as they begin bickering and arguing over the best course of action.
As the episodes progress, more answers are revealed as they find clues around who they are. As they all begin experiencing visions and the true nature of what The I-Land is, the show changes from mystery to sci-fi, leading to some interesting episodes late on as the truth is revealed and we’re left with plenty of questions when the final credits roll. Based on the way this ends it does leave things open for a second season but if it’s reduced to a stand-alone mini-series, The I-Land is structurally sound enough to stand on its own.
On paper, the plot itself is actually quite interesting, bar the awkward rape scene in the first episode, and there’s no doubt that as the truth is revealed, you’re unlikely to guess any of this early on. The I-Land wastes no time answering questions either; as early as the first episode there are clues and ideas thrown in here that hint at what’s really going on. The 7 episodes do feel like the right length too, although some of the lengthy flashbacks feel a little overlong and offset the pacing late on as all roads lead toward a final, climactic finale where all is revealed.
Unfortunately, the dialogue and characters really hold this show back from being a better title. It’s frustrating too as the tragic backstories for some of our characters, including KC and Cooper, are actually quite interesting but none of the cast do a particularly good job at bringing that emotional depth to their characters. It’s so frustrating and a lot of this lies with the scripts, intentionally putting these characters in positions of conflict thanks to hiding secrets, bickering and constantly trying to manipulate one another. That’s to say nothing of the acting itself which is below average, if I’m honest, especially during some of the emotionally charged moments that fall flat.
Having said that, some of this is intentional, given what we know when the final credits roll, but I can’t help but feel some of this could have been done with a little more subtlety. The way these characters are portrayed here is a little clunky, and our main protagonist Chase doesn’t have the charisma or likability to carry the show through its slower segments.
Visually, the island’s natural surroundings give the show a beautiful colour palette to work with. The golden beaches, lush tropical jungle and crystal-clear sea naturally accentuates every scene the show takes place in. There’s a few nice shots, especially early on, and the aerial shots of the island really show off the beauty of this land. Unfortunately, the CGI shark early on really isn’t very good and some of the zoom effects during the aforementioned aerial shots do feel a little cheesy.
As an idea, The I-Land is a good one and there’s certainly some interesting questions about morality explored through the show’s 7 episodes. Unfortunately, a rocky start may turn a lot of people away, especially given the LOST 2.0 vibes the show sticks so closely to. It is worth sticking with though, especially as the answers start to arrive, and there’s some nice work done late on to improve the show’s originality.
There’s a reason no other show has managed to emulate LOST’s success and The I-Land is another casualty in that field. The characters and dialogue are the biggest problems with this series and unfortunately when the big reveals come late on, the cast lack the acting prowess to really sell the shock of this.
It’s such a shame too because there’s some good material here and The I-Land tries hard to differentiate itself from LOST despite a similar opening. Whether you’ll make it that far to get to the good stuff remains to be seen. It’s not the worst show out there, but there are better options in this field making The I-Land worth checking out but unlikely to be a show you remember very long after the credits roll on the finale.