Come and Take It From Me
Episode 1 of Zero Chill begins with Kayla out skating on the ice late at night. Face-timing with her friend Jacob back in Canada, Kayla finds herself struggling with the long-distance. She’s in England, pulled away by her brother Mac thanks to a big opportunity to play on the ice hockey team, The Hammers.
Mac doesn’t make a great first impression, messing up his interview for Iceblast. This comes off the back of accidentally calling himself Drama Queen – a nickname which sticks with his online fans.
The next day, Kayla heads to the ice-hockey rink and catches a glimpse of a possible rival in Ava. Well, while Mac continues on the ice, Kayla makes a new friend in a waitress called Sky. Mac arrives soon after though and does his best to win her over but Sky is ruthless, knocking down his massive ego and putting Mac in his place.
As day turns to night, Kayla heads to the ice rink intending to dance. Only, Jacob doesn’t pick up so she’s left to do it alone. A mysterious skater suddenly arrives though and begins dancing across the ice. Kayla watches from afar in awe, eventually heading back home where her parents have big news.
They’ve sorted her out a new partner – a guy called Archie. Unfortunately, their first time on the ice is less than ideal, with neither of them in-sync and a profound lack of chemistry.
Well, this ensuing drama eventually blows up when Kayla and Mac come to blows over skating. She believes he’s taking everything away from her, eventually deciding to out-skate Mac on the ice. Coach Anton is not happy though, promising to ban Kayla from the ice if she pulls another stunt like that again.
Back home, Kayla’s parents wind up coming to blows with the kids, confronting them over the stunt they pulled earlier in the day.
Eventually though Kayla skips out to skate again late at night. While she does, Mac follows and phones Anton, letting him know what Kayla is up to.
Back at the rink, our mysterious dancer, sporting a jersey with the number 67, is back. Before she can discover their identity, this mystery skater skips out just as Anton arrives.
The Episode Review
Back in 2019, Netflix released two heavy-hitters on January 1st – Messiah and Spinning Out. The latter was a relatively good melodrama, one with a mature enough tone but a severe lack of skating. The ending however, set things up for a second season to change that. After both those shows were unceremoniously axed by the Netflix cancellation gods, many people were disappointed by this decision.
Well, fast forward to 2021 and we’ve got Zero Chill – a weird family friendly hybrid of cheesy 90-s-esque drama and a Spinning Out pretender. However, there is a lot more skating here.
I’m not sure if that’s a good enough trade but there will undoubtedly be a market for this show. Whether that’s large enough – or larger than Spinning Out -remains to be seen. Based on this showing, 2019’s effort is far superior.
The jokes don’t really land and the weird American/English hybrid of ideas and influences doesn’t quite work as well as it perhaps should. Still, the ending does leave the door open so let’s see what else this show has in store for us.