Episode 1 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 2 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 3 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 4 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 5 – | Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 6 – | Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 7 – | Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 8 – | Review Score – 2/5
Zero could be a great superhero show. Netflix’s latest Original has all the hallmarks to be a success too; a gorgeous setting, intriguing characters and a unique hook. Unfortunately Zero takes all of this and bungles the execution, delivering 8 episodes of plot contrivances, inconsistent world-building and a lacklustre amount of drama.
The story revolves around a boy named Omar, who’s gifted with the power of invisibility. Between his job as a pizza delivery boy and enthusiast artist, Omar winds up joining a neighbourhood gang, fronted by Shariff. They’re intent on changing the town’s fortunes, tired of being picked on and desperate to harness Omar’s power.
After an early season casino game, Zero abandons this hook in favour of layering on familial drama. This also includes a conflict involving a gang hired to force residents out their apartment complex.
Intent on trying to spice things up is love interest Anna, whom Omar stumbles upon after a pizza delivery gone wrong. As the two hit it off, Omar worries that he’s going to mess up his chances, especially as his powers start to manifest.
It’s all quite busy and disjointed, made worse by a last minute game-changer to try and throw in the superhero drama again. With episodes clocking in at around 25 minutes or so, Zero does itself no favours by spreading its character development as thinly as possible.
Aside from Omar and Shariff, every other character here is poorly written and given very little to work with. Omar’s sister Awa does come into the fold late on but her development is both rushed and forced, leading to a really awkward twist that just doesn’t work. That’s to say nothing of Shariff’s gang either, who all have their own subplots that are just abandoned without a clear resolution.
It’s probably more disappointing given the potential this story had. There are definitely echoes of Miles Morales here, with the charismatic Giuseppe Dave Seke doing his best to try and drive this series forward. Unfortunately it’s all in vain as this series never quite follows through on its ideas with enough conviction.
In fact, the second half of Zero works to undermine and break the rules established early on. For example, we’re told electronics can’t work around Omar’s powers. And yet, late on he holds a cellphone and records an incriminating conversation no problem. These moments crop up throughout the show and really don’t help Zero’s prospects of a second season.
This show too often tries to be clever with its editing, cutting up the timeline to show a scene occurring 10 minutes into its episode before cutting back to catch up. While this works nicely early on, other times it disjoints and confuses the structure of the series.
While there are enjoyable moments here, they’re fleeting at best. This superhero origin story never quite gets off the ground, torn between being a familial drama, social commentary on the rich/ poor divide and delivering an outright action flick. The result then is a disjointed and awkward series that’s very unlikely to get a second season it’s so desperately banking on.
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Verdict - 3.5/10