Kiss Me First brings us the world of the young woman, Leila (Tallulah Haddon), whose mother has died and in a bid to escape from her lonely reality, she chooses a different world – virtual reality – in which to escape, which is the game Azana, a second life in which she takes the role of Shadowfax, as her avatar.
Unlike the VR we have now – which is generally a headset and a controller, this one comes with the Azanaband. Instead of being an all-over body suit as in the lacklustre and lazy Ready Player One, this is a more simple affair of a band which goes around the neck and can deliver pleasure and pain, depending on the game.
She meets a strange girl called Mania, but what’s she really after, since she declares “She’s the one”. Known as Tess (Simona Brown), in the real world, what’s her deal? What does she want? And how did Leila find herself in an area to which you can only be invited – inhabited by a group called Red Pill, who exist in a paradise land within Azana?
Similar to Playstation and Xbox’s online services, Azana is pay-to-play, so if you don’t have enough credits, you’ll get kicked out of the game. Okay, so the real ones are monthly or annual subscription services whereas Azana rinses you of money, so it’s like those games with with microtransactions where if you plan to remain being keen, you must have the green.
Adding Leila taking in a lodger, Jonty (Matthew Aubrey), an aspiring actor; plus the fear of being watched – since CCTV is everywhere, and unlike Spielberg’s movie, which fills most of its running time with pop culture references rather than any actual story, Kiss Me First‘s initial episode spends more time in reality, delivering intrigue and drama, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing how the other five episodes play out.
I could venture one scene which is clearly fabricated – that of a person having carried three shot glasses onto a dancefloor and NONE of it was spilled. Go into any busy nightclub, and start to walk onto the dance floor with even regular cup-sized pots containing booze, and don’t be surprised when someone knocks half of it out of your hand, so three small shot glasses? 😉
- The rest of the series was okay for a while, except when I got to the penultimate episode, when I had absolutely no idea what was going on.
There’s the basic premise in there, but it went so weird that night. I could kind of see it in its context, but I can’t give spoilers, and it’d be quicker to watch it than explain it, anyway.
As for the finale, it felt quite a mess overall and didn’t make sense given how Leila’s story has played out from the start. It does also leave the door open for a second series (as most series do, these days), but given how the ratings have clearly bombed to the point where the finale was tucked away at 11pm, behind a Gogglecrap repeat, rather than the usual 10pm slot, it won’t be coming back.
Kiss Me First continues next Monday at 10pm on Channel 4, and can be seen after broadcast, at All4. You can’t yet pre-order the series on Blu-ray or DVD, but you can buy the on Kindle book. Check out both the trailer above, as well as the teaser below which set the scene nicely before the title was announced.
Episode 1 Score: 7/10
Series Directors: Tom Green and Misha Manson-Smith
Producer: Bradley Adams
Creator: Bryan Elsley
Writers: Jamie Brittain, Laura Deeley, Bryan Elsley, Rachel Hirons, Lauren Sequeira (Based on the novel by Lottie Moggach)
Music: Segal, Hannal Peel and Matthew Simpson
Leila/Shadowfax: Tallulah Haddon
Mania/Tess: Simona Brown
Jonty: Matthew Aubrey
Force: Freddie Stewart
Zehra: Sibel Pala
Azul: Philip Arditti
Myra: Hayley Carmichael
Adrian: Matthew Beard
Tippi: Haruka Abe
Denier: Samuel Bottomley
Jocasta: Misha Butler
Calummy/Cyryl: George Jovanovic
Daisy: Tina Chiang
Vicar: David Persiva
Carer: Juliet Cowan
Carmen: Francene Turner
Ruth Palmer: Geraldine Somerville
Marion: Pooky Quesnel
Beam: Ben Chaplin
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.