Spoiler-Free Review of “NOS4A2” on AMC: A Faint Spark Glimmering in the midst of all the Backstory

**This is a spoiler-free review so feel free to read on!**

“There are people in this world with abilities.”  Based on the book of the same name by Joe Hill, NOS4A2 follows Vic McQueen, who discovers an old bridge that will take her and her motorcycle anywhere in the world to find lost things.  We are also introduced to the villain, Charlie Manx, who kidnaps young lonely children, promising to drive them off to Christmasland, but visions of sugarplums have been replaced with nightmares of darkness, as he attempts to essentially drain the life force of the children to maintain his own youthful appearance.  While it appears that he is a vampire, there is definitely some mystery surrounding him and we have a lot left to discover.

NOS4A2 is available to watch on AMC and season one features 10 episodes.  The pilot premiered on June 2nd 2019.  The show stars Ashleigh Cummings, Zachary Quinto, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Virginia Kull, and Jahkara Smith.  We are immediately introduced to the villain, Charlie Manx, who appears to be a creepy old man waiting in a car, but we quickly learn that he is extremely dangerous and is in the business of stealing children, luring them with promises of candy canes and Christmas forever.

The Pros:

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Image courtesy of AMC

The acting is convincing and the characters draw you in.

I’m already a huge fan of Zachary Quinto’s work and he does not disappoint in this series, fully embracing the role of the villain.  Even with all the makeup, Quinto makes this creepy old man seem beyond twisted.  I was also pleasantly surprised and entertained by Ashleigh Cummings, who plays our main protagonist, Vic.  The performances are real and compelling and both of these characters appear to have a lot of layers for us to peel back and discover.  In addition, I was intrigued by the character of Maggie, played by Jahkara Smith, who appears to be some kind of psychic librarian, using scrabble pieces to discover clues.  Sounds like a pretty cool ability to me.

The first ten minutes and the last ten minutes give us a glimmer of potential.

I thought that the opening and closing of the season premiere was mysterious and creepy.  I wanted this vibe to continue for the rest of the premiere, but I’m hoping that this glimmer of hope can somehow translate into the remaining episodes, as this show has the potential to be something truly dark and unique.

The Cons:

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Image courtesy of AMC

Too much backstory all at once.

While I have not yet read Joe Hill’s novel, the show gave us way too much backstory for a season premiere, which made the pilot seem heavy and boring.  I understand the need to introduce us to these characters, but perhaps Vic’s backstory could have been sprinkled over all of the episodes instead, while introducing us to her interesting abilities.  Also, we barely get to see the villain in the episode and I feel like the time could have been divided up a little bit better to fully capture our attention.

Slow paced premiere.

In addition to the excessive backstory, there was just a really slow paced feel after the opening minutes of the premiere, which initially drew me in.  There are a lot of elements to be discovered here, but I just felt like there was way too much fluff for the majority of the episode and I found myself tuning out quite a bit, which is not a great sign for a season premiere.

So am I in or out? 

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Image courtesy of AMC

As of right now, I am on my way out, but I give all shows three episodes to change my mind.  There are some redeeming qualities here and the world of Joe Hill seems intriguing, introducing us to some Stephen King like elements that could be genuinely terrifying and different.  However, the pace of the show needs to pick up and we need to scratch the excessive backstory and focus on the journey ahead across the mysterious bridge.  I’m ready to lose myself, but I need much more in order to do so.  Fingers crossed that the next episodes can capture my full attention!

I hope you enjoyed the review and feel free to post your own thoughts and theories on NOS4A2 in the comments section below.  Thanks so much for reading and happy viewing!

**Goodreads Giveaway currently going on for Book Two, Embracing the Looking-Glass (100 copies available) from 5/29/19-6/21/19 Enter Goodreads Giveaway Here!

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Published by

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

I live in Long Island, NY. I am obsessed with TV, movies, reading and writing! My top TV shows are Lost, Breaking Bad, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Prison Break, Charmed, Veronica Mars, and Beverly Hills 90210. My dog, Honey, loves TV too!

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