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.