Between (Netflix)

Over the last few days I watched the Netflix show Between, which ran for two (six-episode) seasons. (It was a collaboration between them and some other studio.) When looking for some stuff about it online I came across several "where is season 3?" threads -- apparently they never formally cancelled it but the last episode came out in 2016.

I, on the other hand, am fully satisfied with the ending, and while there's definitely more story that they could tell, I think another season would feel like a bolt-on taking things in a different direction, kind of like that terrible telepath plotline that filled half of Babylon 5's fifth season. I'm glad they seem to have decided to leave well enough alone here.

Between is set in the fictional town of Pretty Lake (um, ok); they don't say where, but it feels like the midwest. (I thought Ohio because we see Mennonites, but a government official is Minister so-and-so, so maybe Canada?) A plague strikes, killing all the adults (and making me immediately think of Jeremiah), and the government quarantines them. The show takes place in the weeks that follow. Some of the characters start out rather two-dimensional, but we see growth, especially in the second season. There's the spoiled rich kid who sees himself as the natural person to lead the town now, and the smart kid who tries to figure out what's really going on (and learns he has a special connection), and the farm kid who turns out to be a paladin to the detriment of his younger sister, and the druggie and the brother who tries to protect him, and the gangs, and the pregnant teen with the sanctimonious sister, and the guy who's locked in prison when the outbreak hits. And there is the infrequently-glimpsed government that isn't playing straight, which plot develops more in the second season.

There's a saying, I can't remember where from, that civilization is seven meals away from breaking down into chaos. That's very evident here; we have a quarantined town that has only the food they had on hand, and the conflicts between the "I've got mine (and will defend it violently)" folks and the "we need to help everybody" folks (and the "we need to break out of here" folks). This town is full of teenagers, so we get the angst that goes with that too.

I found that I very much needed to suspend disbelief on the plague itself; without spoiling things, let me just say that so far as I know, biology doesn't work that way. No, really, some of this does not stand up to even minimal scrutiny. If you watch the show you just have to roll with that.

It's a decent show, not a great show; the characters take some time to settle in and the acting isn't great. For me that broader plot scenario laid an interesting-enough foundation, and there good strong moments and arcs within the larger show. It's about a 9-hour investment to watch the whole series, which I found worth it.

In response to a comment about biology:

I might have been insufficiently clear. During the show we find out more about how the plague works, and biology really doesn't work that way. The disbelief you suspend for the initial premise isn't the only disbelief you'll need to suspend, I'm afraid. :-)

There was a show about 15 years ago written by JMS (of B5 fame) called Jeremiah, which had a similar starting premise, but the plague there was not contained. That show was set 15 or 20 years later, after civilization has largely collapsed and competing groups are trying to rebuild it. I quite enjoyed that one, which focused on the societal aspects and didn't get into much detail (as I recall) about the plague itself. So it was still a "wait, really?" premise, but easy for me to set aside.