Saturday, March 2, 2019

REVIEW: 'Northern Rescue' - The West Family Struggles in the Wake of a Sudden Tragedy in 'Qué Sera'

Netflix's Northern Rescue - Episode 1.01 "Qué Sera"

After a tragic loss, the Wests face some difficult choices - one of which finds them relocating from Boston to father John's small coastal hometown.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the series premiere of Netflix's Northern Rescue.

"Qué Sera" was written by Mark Bacci and directed by Bradley Walsh

This premiere essentially functions as a premise pilot. However, it's mostly just setting up the reasons why the West family have to leave their lives in Boston and move to John's hometown to be closer to his sister-in-law, Charlie. It also establishes a really overwrought and emotional tone where everything feels as if it has to be the most miserable situation for the characters as possible. That could be a real problem as the season develops. There is a uniformity of tone here that makes it clear that the creative team knows the exact kind of show they want to be making. And yet, this depressing tale of the mother dying and the family struggling to cope in the aftermath could become too one-dimensional as well. The first half of this premiere is all about Sarah receiving her grim diagnosis and then quickly dying off camera. It mostly establishes her as the person who has been keeping the family together. But everything about that first half is the show introducing its characters in some pretty broad dimensions. Maddie is the teenage rebel who is sneaking out of the house to drink and smoke with her bad influence boyfriend. Scout is struggling to fit in anywhere even though everyone seemingly loves him. And Taylor is the innocent youngest child who is actually really smart. John is also the distant father who is more devoted to his job than his family. That is a plot point that is hit over and over again throughout this premiere as well. John is the type of person who talks at people instead of communicating with them and forming a strong partnership built on trust and understanding. He believes he's a great father. But he also admits to being distant from his family and not knowing the best way to help them through their respective griefs. They are still in the thick of it as well. John sees everyone lashing out and that's why he decides to take this job at Turtle Island Bay. Of course, his kids are also reasonable in the moment where they learn about the move because it's something that their father is telling them instead of wanting to have a real discussion about it first. He just unilaterally makes the choice to pack up everything and move back to his hometown. He sees it as what's best for everyone. He knows that everyone is lashing out and struggling. He sees this as a potential solution. But it's also a play to his own ego because he failed to get a promotion to commander in Boston. He will have that leadership position in Turtle Island Bay. As such, that makes it a good move for his career even though it's a smaller department. He just happens to make that choice without really making his children seem like there is anything else they could decide to do. It's his hope to make an impact on their lives that is beneficial after seeing Maddie and Taylor struggle. But it's also the show spending this entire first episode setting up one corner of this world without really revealing what the actual show will be about and the individuals the West family will interact with. Plus, that final twist really makes it seem like the show will delight in making its central family as miserable as possible with every decision they make. Sarah dying was one traumatic thing. The move is another for the family. And now, Charlie's house burning down is yet another. It really does verge on too much though.