Since “Stranger Things,” spooky teen television and screen adaptations of popular young adult book series of the same genre have become increasingly commonplace. Hit shows like “Wednesday” and “Shadow and Bone” both followed a similar theme and became instant favorites, so it’s not surprising that Netflix would continue to push shows founded on the same basis. Most recently, Netflix premiered a new series, “Lockwood & Co.,” based on the YA book series of the same name.
Set in London, “Lockwood & Co.” follows our protagonist, Lucy Carlyle (Ruby Stokes, “Bridgerton”), as she learns to use and apply her supernatural skills. After witnessing the deaths of her peers and friends, in addition to her desire to leave an unsupportive household, Lucy decides to run away from home and move to London. With no money or shelter and roaming a city plagued by ghosts, Lucy is desperate. She ends up finding an independent ghost-hunting practice run by a teenage boy, Anthony Lockwood (Cameron Chapman, debut), and his friend, George Cubbins (Ali Hadji-Heshmati, debut). Lucy is a gifted listener, which means she has a talent for hearing, feeling and communicating with ghosts, and, with nowhere else to turn, takes up a position with the two boys at Lockwood and Co.
Before running away to London, we’re introduced to Lucy’s mother, who exploited and manipulated her daughter’s talents for her own financial benefit. Despite Lucy’s resistance, her mom recognized her unique ability and forced her to practice her skills at an agency where she was able to collect all of the monetary benefits of her child’s labor. In a brief montage, viewers follow Lucy through her training as she becomes a more skilled listener and becomes friends with the other ghost-hunting children. In a mission gone wrong, Lucy’s best friend becomes paralyzed by a ghost and all of the other children die, leaving Lucy as the only survivor. Introducing this emotional backstory and showing viewers the scope of what these ghosts are capable of makes for an engaging and compelling premise. Furthermore, we grow to like Lucy more and more as she seeks a life of independence in pursuit of learning more about the ghosts that killed her friends. She proves to be caring, strong and determined: qualities that make for a well-defined main character.
Besides Lucy, we learn more about her newfound partners, Anthony and George, as they become a self-reliant family themselves. We learn that Anthony seems to be harboring secrets of his own behind locked doors and hidden rooms, and come to understand George’s unrelenting fascination with all things supernatural. However unlikely, the three characters strike a heartwarming balance as they learn more about each other and themselves, making for both a comforting and mysterious watch.
The debut episode of “Lockwood & Co.” certainly was a well-done introduction to the series, leaving viewers with enough answers about general ideas of the show and enough questions to keep them interested in coming back. The stakes only continue to rise, as do the intrigue and mystery, as the show progresses. As is the case with many adaptations, “Lockwood & Co.” seems to have a strong sense of each character and is focused on building characters that fit into those ideas, rather than creating them from scratch. Having a pre-written storyline and existing fan feedback, “Lockwood & Co.” is able to create a story with much higher attention to detail than they would otherwise have been able to. I haven’t read the books myself, so maybe the show was a flop for readers, but if you are looking to settle into a new fantasy world, “Lockwood & Co.” is a strong contender.
The show also offers a refreshing supernatural system. Rather than witches or vampires, “Lockwood & Co.” sticks to the realm of ghosts, offering a display of less popular paranormal creatures. Narrowing down their supernatural environment to a singular focus allows for more specific development and introduces unique details that other shows that focus on a variety of creatures would not be able to obtain. “Lockwood & Co.” doesn’t rely on preexisting paranormal knowledge either and details a classification of different types of ghosts and their abilities very succinctly, creating a show that is attainable to viewers regardless of prior experience in the genre.
With interesting individual characters, wholesome group dynamics and a plot that suggests many challenges and mysteries ahead, “Lockwood & Co.” successfully integrates itself into our recent craze for fantasy-esque young adult television. Leaving viewers with countless questions and many answers is a reliable sign of an intriguing show premise, something “Lockwood & Co.” does well.
Daily Arts Writer Jenna Jaehnig can be reached at email@example.com.