Shadow and Bone is a new Young Adult drama set around… cartographers. Yep, you didn’t see that coming… It’s quite a new thing to the small screen.
The big issue for this series’ main characters, led by Alina Starkov (Jessie Mei Li) and bare knuckle boxing fan Mal Oretsev (Archie Renaux – Gold Digger), is that they have to go into East Ravka, but it means crossing The Fold – something which looks like a huge, black, electrical mess, and which has a feel of when Buckaroo Banzai had to pass through solid matter in that 1984 movie, as well as a feel of going through a Stargate but more dangerous, as you’ll see – but Alina’s gripe is that many years ago, it ate her parents. Yep, that’s rather a bugger.
In this world, most of the characters are show-offs and/or have grumpy looks on their faces, they all have jobs like Tracker and Squaller and other words ending in “er”, Grisha at the enemy, and the naming of every location feels like someone pulled random letters out of a Scrabble bag. In fact, it all gets a bit overwhelming in terms of trying to make sense of it all.
That said, DON’T try to make sense of it 😉
So, after watching three episodes so far, all I can say prior to the streaming date is that, as the billing states, Alina has a power which is going to cause quite a stir, but what can it be? Well, you’ll have to watch to find out. What I do know is that I don’t understand a great deal of what’s going on, but it’s nice to look at.
I would recommend putting on the subtitles, since some characters do waffle a bit.
Oh, and there’s also a nice turn from Elizabeth Rider, who gets all the bossy-type roles lately, from a matriarch figure in this, to a bossy top cop in Line of Duty, and a bossy not-so-top cop in Doctors. Plus The Actor Kevin Eldon (Six Minutes To Midnight), who first pops up in episode three as the King’s spiritual advisor, but I don’t know how many episodes he’s in.
Finally, similar to The Irregulars, I would expect this is a 15-certificate as some of the violence is quite graphic, but in a supernatural style, so if you have kids of 12 or up who are into this sort of thing, I would say that’s fine. For parents of anyone a bit younger, you may want to check the episode out first.
Shadow and Bone is not available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD, but is on Netflix from Friday April 23rd 2021.
Episodes 1-3 Score: 5/10
Series Directors: Mairzee Almas, Lee Toland Krieger, Dan Liu, Jeremy Webb, Eric Heisserer
Producers: Rand Geiger, Eric Heisserer, Thane Watkins
Writers: Vanya Asher, Daegan Fryklind, Eric Heisserer, Shelley Meals, Christina Strain, M Scott Veach
Novel: Leigh Bardugo
Music: Joseph Trapanese
Alina Starkov: Jessie Mei Li
Malyen Oretsev: Archie Renaux
Inej Ghafa: Amita Suman
Jesper Fahey: Kit Young
General Kirigan: Ben Barnes
Kaz Brekker: Freddy Carter
Ivan: Simon Sears
Fedyor Kaminsky: Julian Kostov
Nina Zenik: Danielle Galligan
Ana Kuya: Elizabeth Rider
The Apparat: The Actor Kevin Eldon
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.