Netflix’s latest comic book adaptation should scratch the supernatural family drama itch left behind by the platform’s own The Umbrella Academy.
This review of October Faction (Netflix) is entirely spoiler-free.
Arriving today, with little fanfare and only a day ahead of the much-anticipated third season of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, October Faction Season 1 looks to scratch the itch for family-centric supernatural adaptations left behind by the Big N’s own The Umbrella Academy. Based on the same-named comic series created by writer Steve Niles and artist Damien Worm, which ran for 18 issues as IDW Publishing and enjoyed two follow-up miniseries’ in October Faction: Deadly Season and October Faction: Supernatural Dreams, this latest adaptation boasts enough geek-savvy casting and essential genre elements to entice a sizeable crowd, even if it might be subsequently overshadowed by Netflix’s algorithm and the release of one of its heavy-hitters.
There’s always the chance of enduring cult popularity here, since those trademark components — dysfunctional family, small-town secrets, supernaturalism, established fanbase, and so on — are plentiful and reliable. Double-life-living Fred (J.C. MacKenzie) and Deloris (Tamara Taylor) are monster hunters and parents to twins Viv (Aurora Burghart) and Geoff (Gabriel Darku), and the parallels between horrors of both the supernatural and high-school varieties are not subtle. Their relocation to a mysterious town in upstate New York following the death of Fred’s father is an excuse for this all to come together across ten episodes.
Expect the usual beats: An aging man grappling with an old life and its old enemies, and burgeoning powers being a metaphor for growing up and into adulthood. Expect, also, to feel that the show goes on for slightly too long; despite the abundance of the source material, ten episodes is heavy-going for this kind of thing and can lead to the reiteration of dynamics and the delaying of plot points that always amounts to frustration in a binge-watch. One has to wonder about Netflix’s strategy here — search for October Faction Season 1 now, and you’ll find it heavily-marketed, but tomorrow, in the wake of a quite similar show with a much more enthusiastic following, that almost certainly won’t be the case. In the meantime, though, if you need to feel better about your own family keeping secrets, there are worse ways.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.