Okay, at first I wasn’t really sure what was happening and I definitely felt things could’ve been more clear. In fact I was confused, and it seemed as though the acting wasn’t that great and the love scene weirdly premature. But thankfully they don’t obsess over sexual moments like most shows these days, it’s definitely more about the plot. Which I liked. It seems most of the reviews seem like they haven’t gotten past the first or second episode, and that’s truly a shame because you really can’t properly judge any show until at least 4+ episodes in. I’m currently on episode 5, as of this review. Unless of course a show is blatantly awful, a series takes time to develop characters, create relationships, and also intertwine a compelling plot. Yes, the pacing would seem slow for this social media generation, but honestly if you grew up with movies weren’t demanding the attention spans of sparrows… you might see it’s pretty well paced.
The cinematography was honestly marvelous, and the directing I thought was very classic as well as compelling. Angles, depth of field, color tones, all absolutely gorgeously done. The sound design and sound effects were also very well done, and kept that thriller element very clear throughout the show. Visually I was very pleased by this show, and found the cuts to be well done and well paced.
When it comes to character development, I began to feel for the characters at around the last episode (episode 5). In the beginning I didn’t quite like the Mariel (the main actress) because she didn’t seem to have much of a personality or much emotions about anything, but eventually you can possibly see why she’s so reserved and dry in her delivery: she has walls up and became a rebel in order to cope. People deal with trauma differently, and one could interpret she dealt it with being emotionally unavailable; although emotional moments peek through in family conversations and moments with the young boy. Slowly I noticed her character to become softer and more loving. Now Aliyah’s (the other next-door Nanny friend) acting seemed a bit unusually flat, not that interesting and I couldn’t quite figure out what her character was supposed to bring to the show. I realize there’s this sensual tension between her and another female character, but other than that she just doesn’t have much else of a purpose as of yet. She doesn’t keep secrets, seems somewhat friendly but then not, and honestly just seems awkward. She is sweet but not exactly a well developed character, as of yet. The writers could possibly add more background and depth to her character ti help with this. In general much of the acting overall for the main characters seemed a bit bland and the character development was needing a bit more work. But that does take some time. With that being said, Amy Acker (the sister of the woman who committed suicide) was actually a really great character and wonderful actress who portrayed an uptight controlling yet gentle broken woman in a very strange relationship, who you can tell only because controlling due to the lack of control in her own life. Which personally, I believe she translated beautifully and acted very very well. Even the young boy, Henry Joseph (the son of the deceased) acted incredibly well, depicting a softly hurt child that keeps his feelings internalized. Also, Kelly Bishop (Mrs. Ivey) was remarkably enjoyable to watch; giving a balance to the cast by showing a woman who hides her feelings under a blanket of dark humor and sarcasm. The father (husband of deceased) was also very kind and unassuming, a very fatherly character that seemed safe and self reliant. John Michael (the detective) was surprisingly good as well, and his emotional reactions and acting were really needed in this less than emotionally driven primary cast. The other two nanny friends, and the random Australian fellow, were not that memorable and definitely need more developing; but they do seem like important characters. Elliot (the young neighbor with a crush) definitely needed more personal elements, other than just being a love struck teenager with mood swings and living the smoke life. The other two daughters actually began to have more personalities, which I believe will grow with time. Elliot’s crush actually ends up being a very fun actress to watch, and her delivery is excellent.
When it comes to the plot, well, I’m intrigued. I really want to see where this goes. In fact, I’m kind of at the edge of my seat here. Which is always a sign of good writing, and good delivery I would assume. Definitely at times though, I could not remember who was who or how they knew each other. It wasn’t totally clear who was who sometimes, as there were a multitude of new characters of course given it is the first season.
Overall I have enjoyed this show so far, and it has a beauty to it in the quality of filming that I believe is quite rare to find these days.