Television Reviews

‘NOS4A2’ Needs To Find Itself In Its Transition From Book To TV

A teenage girl looking to escape her mundane life, discovers she possesses an otherworldly power – one that connects her to sinister being that consumes the souls of children. Based on the book of the same name, NOS4A2 puts a unique spin on the vampire tale. However, the first episode drags a bit, struggling to fully hook you. It will need to pick up the pace if it hopes to keep viewers tuning it, but there is definitely an interesting story somewhere in there.

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Vic McQueen (Ashleigh Cummings) is a high school student with an unhealthy home life. As an aspiring artist, she finds no support from her mother. She isn’t too keen on the idea of Vic following that dream, preferring that she continue working in the family business. While she has a close bond with her father, she witnesses a very toxic relationship between her parents. While Vic sees the fortunes of those around her, she wonders what she can do to escape the boring small town life she’s shackled to.

Meanwhile, a mysterious old man named Charlie (Zachary Quinto) has kidnapped a young boy, driving him to a place called Christmasland, which promises Christmas every day. All the while Charlie feeds on the livelihood of the child, getting younger and younger in return.

Back home, Vic discovers a bridge in the middle of the woods, a bridge that shouldn’t exist. Riding her dirt bike through it, she realizes it possesses the power to transport her to where she desires. It unlocks her own supernatural ability, one that will connect her to Charlie – though it is a power she should use carefully.

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At the core, the premise of the series – and book – is extremely interesting. However, I felt the pilot seemed overfilled, but leaving me to feel slightly unfulfilled. The jumps between Vic and Charlie were tricky to keep track of in terms of where they were in the story’s timeline. And without much drama, the pilot felt to be dragging at times with so many introductions to a number of supernatural characters.

There is obviously a huge fan following of the book, written by Joe Hill, so the story is certainly there. But it almost seemed the show was geared towards book fans, who know the story already, rather than new audiences. I was definitely intrigued by it, but I didn’t walk away feeling blown away by what I saw – it was just okay.

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One particular highlight of the series is the the phenomenal special effects makeup job on Quinto, as he is aged and de-aged throughout in order to portray the 135-year-old creature. And while my thoughts on the first episode aren’t stellar, I do know that this character intrigues me to continue on. I only hope the series picks up the pace in future episodes. If so, I think it can really reel me in.

NOS4A2 premieres on AMC on June 2nd

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