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April 16, 2024

Lockwood & Co. is a dystopian gem among supernatural teen dramas

By ALICIA GUEVARA | February 9, 2023

jonathanstroud

AARON WEBB / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Netflix’s Lockwood & Co. is based on the book series of the same name by British writer Jonathan Stroud.

I love a good dystopia. Maybe it’s a callback from the early 2010s when The Hunger Games and the Divergent series were at their peak. Maybe it’s a reminder that life and the world could always be worse. In any case, whenever I see a dystopian series getting good reviews, I have to watch it.

With a 90% on Rotten Tomatoes and as one of the highest-watched shows on Netflix this past week, Lockwood & Co. was a no-brainer. Given the popularity of shows like Wednesday and Stranger Things, this show felt like a natural progression of supernatural teen shows.

Set in London, the show takes place in a world where children possess the ability to sense the presence of ghosts. Once they get older, they lose this ability, so adults send their children to agencies to combat dangerous spirits. It goes without saying that there is an incredibly high mortality rate among the kids. Even if these children survive, they often remain unemployed or spiral into existential crises once they lose their abilities.

The main protagonists are three children who form their own agency, Lockwood & Co. Lucy Carlyle (Ruby Stokes) joins Anthony Lockwood (Cameron Chapman) and George Karim (Ali Hadji-Heshmati) in a series of adventures to keep a roof over their heads and establish themselves as a legitimate agency, all the while dealing with their own personal demons.

Though the show is based on a young adult book series by Jonathan Stroud, it was by no means overly juvenile. In fact, I loved this show. I loved how creative it was and how the characters dealt with a society that forces them to grow up too quickly, yet deems them too young to strike out on their own. The world was layered and complex, and I enjoyed discovering its creative nuances as the show progressed.

The characters were also very endearing. The chemistry between the three leads was palpable, so the strong bonds that form between them felt believable, and the romance blossoming between Lucy and Lockwood was cute and subtle while compelling. This show didn’t dwell on the drama but hinted at it, which was refreshing.

The choice to cast adult actors as children was off-putting at first. I worried that the series would start to feel like the Percy Jackson movies that sacrificed the youthful spirit of the characters for more mature actors. However, I thought that the swap paid off in this case. The older actors delivered quality performances while maintaining a sense of reality.

Additionally, I liked the fact that this series constantly kept its audience guessing. Who are the forces working against the trio? I still have no idea, even after finishing the eight episodes that were released. Between the ghosts — portrayed as perpetually angry beings more than evil masterminds — competitor agencies, black-market thugs and rogue agents, the show lacks one main villain, which is cool and mysterious.

The pacing could be a little slow at times. Before the last few episodes, the scenes could drag on for a bit and get repetitive. I didn’t mind this lethargic speed because I thought it gave the audience time to adjust to the world and daily struggles of the protagonists outside of their action-packed, ghost-hunting careers. However, I can see this losing the attention of some viewers.

Overall, this series kept me intrigued. If you love interesting new worlds, a good mystery and don’t mind some jump-scares, I would definitely recommend giving this show a try.


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