The Trip of Your Life -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Evaluation -| Review Score – 3/5
Farewell Party -| Review Score – 2.5/5
The Other Shore -| Review Score – 2.5/5
Storm-| Review Score – 2.5/5
Rebellion -| Review Score – 2.5/5
Lilith -| Review Score – 2/5
The Trip Back –| Review Score – 2/5
Welcome to Eden could have been a smash hit, had it been released 10 years earlier. The problem with the “isolated survival” genre, is just how saturated this field has become.
Between The Wilds, Yellowjackets, Survivor, Lost and even massive bombs like The I-Land, there are so many of these series to choose from. Welcome to Eden then is another to file in the realm of “passable.” The story is okay, the main character is good enough to root for while the visuals are actually quite enticing. Under that façade though is a series lacking in real quality, with no depth to the history, lore, supporting characters or narrative structure.
The story starts quite promisingly, teasing a hybrid blend of LOST and Squid Game. Set in Spain, a teen called Zoa receives an invitation to head off to a remote island for an “immersive experience” of drinking and partying.
Forced to leave her phone behind, under the pretense of protecting the island’s secrecy, Zoa is joined by several other teens as they go off partying. When they awaken in the morning, what starts as a bustling island of 100 or so boozy punters, is whittled down to a mere handful. It soon becomes apparent that there’s something more sinister going on here, as a cult known as Eden welcome them in… at least until another boat arrives.
Although the episodes are quite pacey, clocking in at around 32-40 minutes each, there’s really not a whole lot of development during the middle chapters. Some of this stems from a lack of characterization for the characters alongside Zoa. Charly, Africa, Aldo and Ibon are given very little to work with here and that results in a lack of investment with their stories. Beyond brief snippets in dialogue about their lives, we know very little about their upbringing, what drives them and how bad their history was. Unless you count a couple of forced exposition dumps during therapy sessions that is.
This is a particularly big problem because running parallel to this story is another subplot off the island, where various different families work to try and find out what’s happened to their missing kids.
Ibon’s father hires a private investigator, Zoa’s sister Gabi goes off on an adventure to San Sebastian to find the truth, while Africa has ONE scene dedicated to her past. The result is a show that’s in desperate need of more development, with extra time given to understand who these people are and why we should care about them.
The other issue comes from believability. I know these sort of series do require you to suspend your disbelief a bit but Welcome to Eden stretches that to breaking point. I won’t go into spoiler territory about Eden and its secrets but suffice to say, the main group act so irrationally, happily embracing this cult without even batting an eyelid. In fact, the only character to actually exhibit some concerns is shot down by the group for acting crazy – which in itself is ironic.
It’s more disappointing with Welcome to Eden because the show starts so promisingly. The initial flair and interesting development of the plot soon peters out into underwhelming mediocrity, and the show never looks like recovering from that until way near the end of episode 8.
That’s not to say that this series doesn’t have its positives, but for such an intriguing premise, I did expect more from this one.
With strong visuals and an interesting idea, Welcome to Eden will certainly welcome you in with open arms. Unfortunately, the embrace that follows is cold and lacking emotion, making for a pretty disappointing watch overall. Whether a second season will quell any doubts and improve on the character development and lore surrounding this is still unknown. As it stands, this is a pretty average watch at best.
Verdict - 5/10