Damson - What we're watching #25
"The Stranger" is the second of Harlan Coben's books to be adapted into a Netflix series after "Safe". "Safe" was a real mixed bag, but for the most part, it seemed to fall flat. Mainly because it was a bit crap. Hopes were much higher this time around after some tantalizing trailers were released on Netflix in the weeks leading up to release.
The trailer didn't give a great deal away, certainly not any more than what you find out in the first series.
The central premise get's it's hooks into the viewer right away. A mysterious stranger comes out of nowhere to tell loyal (ish) family man Adam Price (Played by the always brilliant Richard Armitage) a terrible secret about his wife and encouraging him to find out the truth for himself.
Of course, there are many other intertwining stories throughout, and plenty of characters introduced, but this revelation is what starts everything off.
As the series evolves it becomes apparent that the titular "Stranger" has many more targets than just Adam in town. But what is her motive? Money? or is she just doing it for kicks? A bit of both, it would seem.
"The Stranger" book that this was adapted from is set in the US, but here we have changed location to an unnamed location in the North of England, and the genders of some characters have been changed. "The Stranger" herself is male in the book. Here she is played wonderfully by Hannah John Kamen. She wreaks havoc around town, dropping truth bombs all over the shop and confronting people with realities they aren't too keen to face. She's not necessarily a good or a bad person, more just doing what her iffy moral compass tells her too. The problem is, a lot of her revelations cause no end of trouble for a lot of the characters, even when that wasn't her intention at all.
"The Stranger" is the latest in the long line seriously binge-able Netflix series. It is designed to keep you on the sofa rattling through episode after episode until you get to the end on number eight. Every episode ends with a frenzy of revelations making it almost impossible to not jump straight into the next episode. Watching it in one go, at least over a couple of days, is pretty much a necessity.
The whole cast are a real highlight. Richard Armitage and Hannah John Kamen are joined by a phenomenal support network. Shaun Dooley, Anthony Head, Derla Kirwan, Paul Kaye, and Jennifer Saunders are all an absolute joy when they are on screen. For us the whole series highlight was Siobhan Finneran as Johanna, the Police Detective caught up in all of the drama. If you have ever been lucky enough to watch "Happy Valley", you'll know just what a talent Finnernan is.
It's hard to write about a series like this that has so many twists and turns as we don't want to give too much away of you haven't watched it yet. Just know, that you will have all of your questions answered at some point throughout. Even if some of the twists are relatively easy to spot coming, it doesn't make them any less effective once they arrive.
It's fast, frenzied, entertaining and enjoyable. The kind of series that will get everyone talking around the water cooler at work. It is WELL worth your time.
In summary, everyone has secrets. Whatever they are, no matter how big or small, you'd better hope to never have a visit from "The Stranger". She'll fuck your life up.
March 6, 2020