Chase Charaba, Co-Editor-in-Chief
Freeform premiered the incredible new TV drama Beyond on Jan. 2 and released all 10 episodes in the first season for online streaming.
Beyond stands out from other new shows in that it featured a unique online marketing campaign on social media that encouraged viewers to binge all the episodes through the Freeform App, Hulu or On Demand.
It’s one of the best new shows of the 2016-2017 line-up, alongside ABC’s Designated Survivor. Beyond features an interesting (though not revolutionary) storyline with plenty of opportunities for humor and romance. It delivers action and drama when it needs to, but it does feel like a mix of Stranger Things and Heroes.
The show follows 25-year-old Holden Matthews, played by Burkley Duffield, after he miraculously awakens from a 12-year coma without any mental or physical handicaps. Matthews discovers that he now possesses special abilities as he pieces together what happened to him during the 12 years that he spent in a coma.
The main antagonists work for Hollow Sky, which feels a lot like Primatech in Heroes or Renautas from Heroes: Reborn because they’re actively searching for people with abilities for their own gain. But the show isn’t Heroes nor is it Stranger Things. It takes a different approach to showing how people cope with new abilities.
Coincidently, the show was created by Adam Nussdorf and produced by David Eick and Tim Kring, creator and producer of the hugely successful Heroes on NBC.
The main cast also includes Willa, played by the excellent Dilan Gwyn, Jeff McArdle, played by Jeff Pierre and Luke Matthews, played by Jonathan Whitesell.
Duffield is perfect for the role of Holden Matthews, but the character could’ve used more development. A solution would’ve been to extend the season to 13 or 16 episodes to space out the action and development scenes between Holden and the other characters. It would’ve allowed viewers to better connect with the characters, all while the show could learn more about their characters.
Peter Kelamis should be commended for his role as the man in the yellow jacket. His character is downright creepy and makes for a better villain than the actual villain in the series, Dr. Frost. The man in the yellow jacket seems like a rehash of Heroes’ HRG (Noah Bennett), right down to having unsettling glasses and working for a company that searches for these special individuals. Kelamis delivered on several unsettling scenes, such as when he offers to let a child hold a fully-loaded handgun in the creepiest way possible and when he returns from the woods with blood on his glasses.
Holden and Luke Matthews parents’, played by Romy Rosemont and Michael McGrady, were excellent for the series. They brought a sense of realism through their relationship struggle to a show where everything else is explained by science fiction or fantasy. It allowed viewers to feel like the events in the show were actually possible in the real world.
Beyond has all of the elements required for a successful show for teenage viewers: young actors and actresses, love interests, college parties, drugs and the supernatural. However, it also appeals to an older audience because of its high-quality videography, action scenes and mysterious Stranger Things-like nature.
With stunning camera work and CGI effects, it’s no wonder why Freeform announced Jan. 10 that the show would be renewed for a second season.
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