Thursday, October 31, 2013

Darknet: A TV Series Not On TV

The best TV series on Halloween night isn't even on TV.
Have I got your attention yet?
It's called Darknet and if I have to explain that term to you you'd better turn to something else.
The highly anticipated horror anthology series from executive producers Vincenzo Natali and Steven Hoban will actually premiere on Showcase on January 24 2014.
In yee olden days which was just last week a TV network would never allow such a prerelease but at 12:01 on Friday November 1 Darknet will actually premiere on
The current thinking is for multi-platform,s to rev up excitement in a new series.
and I'm thinking a lot of young viewers have to be coaxed to watch any "regular" TV at all.
I just watched the first episode which is predictably terrific given that it was written and directed by Natali. himself.
I remember once at least 10 years ago my assignment from The Toronto Star was to meet and interview Natali  then in town for the Toronto Film Festival.
He'd directed Cube (1997) to great acclaim and was then stuck in development hell.
I teased him he could stay busy by directing such Canadian TV fare as Degrassi and Ready Or Not.
He looked genuinely shocked until I hastened to admit I was only kidding.
After watching the first full episode of Darknet I though of its U.S. equivalent American Horror Story.
There are a number of intertwining stories all set in the trendy parts of downtown Toronto.
Indeed the city is one of the main characters.
The story starts with a young girl reading her emails on the subway. She gets off and sits at a bus bench unaware the other passengers have fled because a slasher is loose in the neighborhood.
The second story with its intimations of Hitchcock's Psycho finds a modern Marion Crane (newcomer Michelle Alexander)  coming home late after a yoga class and discovering her toilet seat has been pushed up --something she would never do.
The next day with a girl friend over for dinner she opens the fridge and discovers a veggie wrap has been half eaten.
Looking out the window she thinks she sees a stalker and looks again and he is gone.
Another vignette finds Natali's favorite actor David Hewlett  (he has been in at least six Natali features) cast as a businessman  who goes down to open his locker and finds one key to another locker containing a bag of $50,000 and another key to a bicycle locker in the basement containing the body  of a young guy with drug paraphernalia.
The press release says Darknet contains "bite sized servings of fear". Bite sized? I was watching in the dark and had this urge to turn on every light in the house.
As usual Natali shoots everything in a flowing style that here only ups the creepy factor.
There are six half hours that seemingly interweave into each other.
If the preview idea was to get potential viewers hooked early on then it should be a big success.
More please.
MY RATING: ****.

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