Between First Season Ends: Renewal?

Still from Between
Between, the Canadian series which was essentially a riff on the old New Zealand kid’s TV show The Tribe, has finished, the first season ended after it’s “ordered” six episodes and there is no news of renewal…yet. Starring Jennette McCurdy, Jesse Carere, Ryan Allen and Justin Kelly, the show follows the trials of under-22s in Pretty Lake who have survived a viral attack killing off everyone over the age of 21.

The town is broken down into the rich kid, the poor ones and the in-betweens, which includes the smarter-than-smart MIT accepted wunderkind Adam (Carere) and the teen mom, Wiley (McCurdy). The series started with a bit of a whimper. Although it has to be said that the deaths of the “grown-ups” impressed. A sudden coughing attack and then thick blood drooling from the mouth and…death. Quick, disturbing and set up in such a way that one knew the younger denizens of the town were completely freaked out by the sight and suddenness of their parents, teachers, and so on expiring so fast and inexplicably.

The first episode of Between had McCurdy’s character acting like another variation of Ellen Page’s Juno in the film of the same name, but that soon changed after it was revealed that Wiley’s “baby father” was the rich guy who owns most of the town and whose son, Chuck steps up to take charge after all the older citizens die.

The Creekers, born on the wrong side of the tracks and who are still living there, fight Chuck every step of the way and provide a lot of conflict for the rich kid who is trying to keep things together. There were some things about the show that grated.

For instance, the seemingly obligatory “mentally challenged” sibling, who is doomed to die, the drug addict brother who wants to be good, even if he does almost rape a girl, and the crazy smart teen prodigy who helps to figure things out. The entire plot does make one think of cult favorite The Tribe but the setting and the characters are wildly different. The change of locale along with the increased sophistication of the kids in the show made the whole thing refreshing although woefully slow.

For a season which was only going to consist of six episodes the very fact that things do not really “take off” till episode five shows either complete faith that there will be a season two, or that the show’s producers were not aware that the pacing was snail paced and annoying. Netflix does not have the problem of most networks, their rating system does not dictate whether they cancel a series or not, at least it certainly appears that way.

The show suffered a bit from clunky acting and storylines that were a little predictable. There were issues of events that were illogical and potholes that one could drive a lorry through…

But…

The pickup of action in episode five and six; the series finale, and the improvement in the performances made the show feel like it was finally sailing instead of tacking. This illusion of smoothness, versus fighting the tide, makes the short six episode season seem unfair and a tad annoying.

There is no word, not that this reviewer can find, on whether the show will be renewed or not. Entertainment review site Rotten Tomatoes slaughtered the series and on IMDb the rating of Between is a paltry 5.5.

Followers on Twitter, @betweenseries numbers 2858 and the show’s Facebook page has under 6,300 likes. The series may well vanish without a trace with fan numbers this low. If Between does hang on for another season, it will be a miracle as well as very annoying when one compares it to other, vastly superior, Canadian export The Lottery where Marley Shelton tried to save an infertile world inspire of a corrupt and evil government.

The six season series can still be seen on Netflix.

Between: End of the Rope (recap and review)

Publicity poster for Between
Between, the Netflix Canadian answer to The Tribe has finally gotten past its slow and illogical beginnings in End of the Rope. Taking until episode five to get things moving may not have been the best game plan in the world, but at long last the show has picked up pace and gotten interesting with a few twists thrown in for good measure. The show tried to invigorate its plot and action last week when Ronnie attempted to rape Wiley while under the influence of booze and Oxy.

It looks like the new mother’s decision to stay with the Creeker’s for a break was not the best of all ideas. The only member of the ostracized family who thinks clearly is the sister, apparently, as later Pat decides that holding Wiley and, the newly named baby, Jason hostage in order to get antibiotics for Annie is the way to go. Ronnie is going through withdrawal on top of suffering from a major headache after sis smacked him with the business end of shovel in mid “Wiley attack.”

Gord is called to town after Vince, one of Chuck’s hockey team “cops,” gets very ill; vomiting, running a fever and unable to move. The “country doc” says the boy has a burst appendix and Chuck says he will fly him over the fence for treatment. Gord warns against this action saying that authorities outside the fence will shoot the plane down. Kevin, another hockey cop, says his grandpa taught him a little about flying and he will take Vince.

Later the lads stand and watch as the plane makes its hesitant takeoff and within seconds of becoming airborne the aircraft is shot down with a rocket. Chuck and Gord have a fight after this and the boy in charge orders Gord to stay of it. Amanda discovers Jack missing and goes to find him. She finds Harrison’s (the diabetic boy who stole the car in last week’s show) sister with the dog.

Adam searches Art Carey’s house and finds that the man had access to the Pretty Lake prison and has a key card to room 14. He goes to investigate. Once inside the prison, the woman prison guard locks him in and confronts Adam with a shotgun. He runs and she shoots at the boy chasing him through the facility.

Ronnie, who earlier flushed all the Oxy down the toilet, starts to lose it because Jason will not stop screaming. Amanda sees Jack run off and goes chasing after him. Wiley and Pat go back to get some antibiotics and bump into Melissa at the drugstore. After some harsh words they get the drugs and are driving back to the Creeker home. While discussing Ronnie, the Amanda runs in front of the vehicle and is run down. She dies and Pat tells Wiley they have to get out of there.

Hannah, the Mennonite girl who went to school with Gord, treats his wounds after his fight with Chuck and moves in with him and his sister. Earlier she took some oil for the milk cows to treat their mastitis and when a bearded mennonite shows up, Gord thinks he want the liniment back, but it turns out that Hannah is married and he wants her back.

Ronnie goes after the baby and his sister with a knife and comes close to killing himself. Adam almost dies and is saved by the last person he expects to see behind the fence. Things in Pretty Lake have “gone South” with the force of an avalanche. Three, or more, dead and it looks like their problems are far from over. Jennette McCurdy is picking up as Wiley and the rest of the cast are getting into their characters and becoming that little bit more believable. Well done Between, you have upped the game and made the show more enjoyable because of it. Keep it up.

‘Between’ Canadian Version of ‘The Tribe’ With Jennette McCurdy as Ellen Page

Between Tumblr page header
While at face value Between looks like a Canadian version of the New Zealand cult television series The Tribe, but with Jennette McCurdy as an Ellen Page Juno clone, it is different. Certainly the plot is very similar, an unidentified plague or virus starts killing off the adult population, age 22 up, and only youngsters are left to figure out how to survive.

On another level, just the apparent specificity of the age where the virus hits feels very like the Gone series of books by Michael Grant, but only in this area. There are no signs of mutating teens in this new show.

There is, however, a brilliant modern day touch where teenagers are tweeting one another over their smart phones as they attempt to deal with the sudden deaths of parents, grandparents, and so on. The screen flashes the various hashtags of #prettylake and #staystrong. One message claims quite succinctly that “they r lying to us.”

The series premiere episode, titled School’s Out has Pretty Lake, a small rural community suddenly hit with a string of mysterious deaths. The afflicted all begin drooling blood and then very quickly expire. All the dead are over the age of 21.

One student, Wiley, is heavily pregnant. Her water, as pointed out helpfully by her older sister, is about to break and the younger sister handles her awkward situation with wisecracks and a sort of “gallows” humor. When asked what she’ll do after the baby is born, she replies that she plans on continuing her role of disgraced preacher’s daughter.

By day five, information that is posted regularly via text on the screen shows the death rate has reached the hundreds and is escalating. The Canadian Ministry places Pretty Lake under armed quarantine. Prime Minister Miller, in a special broadcast to the denizens of the town now under lock and key, tells all those involved that it was a hard decision to make.

By the 10th day, the death count is in the thousands and M.I.T. teen Adam, who is also interested in Wiley, has hacked the official government database to learn that no one under the age of 22 has died. Events move forward and by the end of the first episode, Wiley/Juno gives birth, two lads almost get coated with driveway sealer for stealing a truck, Adam may or may not be dead and the inmate, in what seems to be Pretty Lake’s county jail, just misses being executed by another con.

Between may have a bit in common with The Tribe, but in reality, only the idea of minors surviving a plague hitting adults is the same, along with the mysterious cause – not a virus according to the two medical specialists from the Ministry. The show’s use of the Internet and smart phones makes the scenario current and should enable the series a chance at survival.

Former Sam & Cat star McCurdy will have to expand on her Juno act, Ellen Page need not worry about Jennette replacing her in other roles, to keep the audience interested in the new mum of Pretty Lake.

Thus far, the show is fairly interesting, despite the Under the Dome and The Tribe feel to the series. Hopefully this Canadian thriller will do better than the Marley Shelton science fiction series The Lottery which never quite found its audience despite being a brilliant show. Time will tell if Between proves to be interesting enough to find a following.