Spoiler-Free Review of Harlan Coben’s “The Woods” on Netflix

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

If you thoroughly enjoyed your watches of The Stranger and Safe, Harlan Coben’s latest crime thriller series is out for you to binge-watch now. 

The Woods is a Polish series that premiered on Netflix on June 12th 2020. It features 6 episodes (45-50 minutes in length) and it stars Grzegorz Damiecki, Agnieszka Grochowska, Hubert Milkowski, and Wiktoria Filus. The series is available with subtitles or dubbed in English.

Like the addicting and binge-watch worthy The Stranger and Safe, The Woods is also brought to us from author and creator, Harlan Coben. It is a mystery thriller that centers around Pawel Kopinski. Twenty-five years ago, Pawel’s sister went missing, along with three other teens from their summer camp, but new evidence comes to light, suggesting that the case may not be shut just yet.

This show has the potential to fulfill your craving for a new mystery thriller, but does The Woods measure up to The Stranger and Safe? Let’s find out…

The Pros:

The Woods Netflix 1
Images courtesy of Netflix

A mystery that immediately pulls you in.

Much like with The Stranger and Safe, Harlan Coben is a genius at bringing us into a crime filled world with secrets and reveals at every corner. The mystery surrounding Pawel’s missing sister is a compelling one. It hooks you onto the show and keeps you guessing until the very end, which is what I expect these shows to do.

The Woods Netflix 2
Images courtesy of Netflix

Ship-worthy chemistry.

Don’t get me wrong, the series is a crime thriller mystery, but I absolutely loved the chemistry between Pawel and Laura. They fell in love twenty-five years ago and when they meet up in the present, you could just feel the passion between them once again. Sure, they don’t really have too much time to dwell on this, but it helped me connect with the characters more and I thought their performances were believable and well done.

The Woods Netflix 3
Images courtesy of Netflix

Seamless flashbacks.

It’s not easy pulling off flashbacks that advance the plot, but I thought that they worked extremely well in this particular series. I was actually more interested in the flashbacks than present day events and I thought that they freed us up from the slower pace at times. The character dynamics were great and you really felt the terror and anxiety rushing through each character as secrets were revealed.

The Cons:

The Woods Netflix 4
Images courtesy of Netflix

Slow pace.

The series is only six episodes and each episode isn’t terribly long, but the series had a tendency to drag in many places. The monotonous music and dull lighting didn’t help at times as I had to keep forcing myself to pay attention. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of moments where you will focus on what is going on completely, but I was just hoping for a faster pace like with The Stranger and Safe and I didn’t really get that here.

Too many sub-plots.

If you have read my reviews on The Stranger and Safe, then you know that I often comment on the multiple sub-plots throughout these series. However, they seemed to stick out even more in The Woods because of the slower pace.

We get this present day case that Pawel is working on and I’m not even sure what actually happened with it because it steered off course too much. While many of the sub-plots make sense later on and add to the mystery, they could be extremely overwhelming and unnecessary at times.

So am I in or out?

The Woods Netflix 6
Images courtesy of Netflix

I’m about 50/50 on this one. The series is only six episodes long so it does make a good weekend binge-watch, but I wouldn’t necessarily move it up to the top of your list just yet. 

Perhaps I set my expectations a little bit too high here. I adored both The Stranger and Safe and I was counting the days up until the release of this series. While The Woods does deliver as a compelling mystery that will keep you guessing, it lacks in a lot of other areas and is just kind of OK overall.

I hope you enjoyed the review and feel free to post your own thoughts and theories on The Woods in the comments section below. You can check out my review of The Stranger here!  Thanks so much for reading and happy viewing!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

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Spoiler-Free Review of “Safe” on Netflix: The Perfect Binge-Watch for fans of “The Stranger”

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

If you thoroughly enjoyed your binge-watch of The Stranger, you might have been endlessly skimming through Netflix recommendations for something to measure up. Well fear not, as Netflix gets it completely right with its latest recommendation…Safe.

Safe actually premiered on Netflix on May 10th 2018, but it has been gaining popularity ever since The Stranger premiered. It features 8 episodes (40-45 minutes in length) and it stars Dexter’s Michael C. Hall, Amy James-Kelly, Amanda Abbington, Marc Warren, and Hannah Arterton.

Like The Stranger, Safe is also brought to us from author and creator, Harlan Coben. It is a mystery thriller that follows Tom Delaney’s search for his missing daughter, Jenny. Once again, dark secrets are exposed as several threads begin to unravel together, leaving us on the edge of our seats with constant twists and turns.

The show has a very similar feel, almost making it seem like part of a thriller anthology series, but does Safe measure up to The Stranger? Let’s find out…

The Pros:

Safe Netflix 4
Images courtesy of Netflix

Once again, an amazing cast!

Michael C. Hall was absolutely brilliant as Tom Delaney and as a huge fan of Dexter, I was pleased to see him thrive in another role. The rest of the cast was fantastic as well, making the character dynamics that much more more intriguing.

Safe Netflix 7
Images courtesy of Netflix

Another surprising mystery.

Even though I preferred the approach of an actual stranger exposing dark secrets, I thought that the mystery behind Safe was just as compelling. Once again, I found myself completely invested to see how things would unfold, coming up with my own theories and suspects along the way. The show is far from predictable and each episode leaves you wanting more and more.

The Cons:

Safe Netflix 5
Images courtesy of Netflix

Too many sub-plots.

Much like The Stranger, we ended up lost in several side plots and characters along the way. Some of them connected to the main mystery centered around Tom Delaney and his daughter, but others seemed out of place and strange. That being said, I thought that Safe did a better job with this than The Stranger, connecting as many dots as possible for us without completely overwhelming us.

So am I in or out?

Safe Netflix 6
Images courtesy of Netflix

I’m in 100 percent again! After watching The Stranger, I was endlessly searching for something similar to watch and I love that we now get the chance to discover the hidden gem of Safe. I didn’t even know about this show when it premiered, but hopefully more fans of The Stranger will discover it and give it a chance because it can stand on its own as a worthy thriller series.

Even though I think that I enjoyed The Stranger a little bit more, Safe did not disappoint at all. Once again, Netflix delivered with the perfect binge-watch and we can never get enough of Michael C. Hall, so that was an added bonus!

I hope you enjoyed the review and feel free to post your own thoughts and theories on Safe in the comments section below. You can check out my review of The Stranger here!  Thanks so much for reading and happy viewing!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

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