British Time Travel Netflix Series Bodies is Crazy
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British Time Travel Netflix Series Bodies is Crazy. I’m three or four episodes into the Netflix series Bodies and it is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. The premise is simple (?) enough, in that a dead body appears in three simultaneously different periods of time (totally depends on how you count – really four; 1890, 1941, 2023, & 2053).
Quick Overview of Netflix’s Series Bodies
(First, technically, shouldn’t the show be called Body? Yes, there are multiple bodies across time… but it’s only one dead guy. So. Body?)
The show kicks off with Detective Hasan, a Muslim police detective, who chases a young guy with a gun during a chaotic far-right-leaning (Nazi?) protest. Weird things happen during the chase, street lights explode, weird aural strangeness… anyway, the fugitive leads her to a body in an alleyway. The body, has a gunshot (?) in one eye, and seems to have been killed by the guy with the gun. But, the guy is pretty clear that he wants to make the point that he didn’t do it. (Don’t they all?) Our intrepid detective begins the entire point of the show, which is, investigation into where this body came from, what is going on here.
Enter clever time travel segue and shifting time announcement. We jump backwards to Detective Whiteman – a Jewish man who is discriminated against daily… story checks out. The War is on, but it doesn’t mean that magically, in London, the plight of the Jews around the world is much better than it is in Germany. Whiteman, is also being given instructions by a secret organization that tell him he has to get the body, and deliver it. But his own boss? He’s as dirty as they come, and he’s pretty sure that Whiteman is dirty too.
Then, jumping backwards to 1890, Hillinghead, yet another detective, is a gay man who is constantly risking his life with the people of the time. When he finds the same body, where a photographer is taking pictures, he has to figure out what to do. Ashe, the photographer, who happens to also be gay (as illustrated by his photographic subjects) and Hillinghead needs to figure out if this photographer is actually the murderer. Arresting Ashe, Hillinghead also figures out that the dead man has some sort of connection to some bigger cabal, or dangerous movement. When episode one ends, we see the fourth detective, in 2053, a dystopianly modern future where London seems to be flooded and ruled tyrannically.
Netflix’s Bodies is an Interesting Idea
The British time-hopping crime thriller is a limited series (is it going to be 8 episodes?) Hold please. Yeah, 8 episodes, that have all been released already. It’s based on a DC Vertigo comic series and graphic novel also called Bodies, written by Si Spencer and illustrated by Dean Ormston.
But when the writers of the screenplay don’t dial down some of the obviousness necessary in a comic adaptation? It can be a little much. For example, the two gay characters in 1890? And their drifting into an affair? I mean. No offense, but you are ignoring the facts of the period. I have actually enjoyed following Detective Hasan, and her more modern adaptation of her Muslim faith. Watching her struggle using her spirituality to unlock a connection with another Muslim woman, etc… that has been totally on point. And yet, some of the comic book limitations, and historical inconsistencies, can sometimes be a limitation to the series.
Where the series soars though, is how we start to see that there is an agency, lurking in the shadows, telling people what to do, and forcing individuals to intercede on their behalf. Who are they and what do they want? Why is there one fellow in particular that seems to be still alive in 2053? Is he time traveling? And he seems really important, and fairly all knowing too. What is that about?
Final Thoughts on Bodies
I will definitely finish the series Bodies on Netflix, but I’ve downshifted in my priority list. Why? Well, it’s primarily because some of these various writing faux pas (plural it’s the same, correct??) that the series has going on. When I can guess that in 3 episodes this is going to happen because the characters are so obviously stereotyped? Yeah. Doesn’t mean I haven’t enjoyed it so far. But it could have very easily avoided some of these lazy writing traps that it created for itself.