A Brazilian murder-mystery married to high-concept sci-fi, Omniscient (Netflix) is decent genre fare that spies a pretty eager binge-watching audience.
This review of Omniscient (Netflix) is spoiler-free.
Part Black Mirror, part 1984, part good old-fashioned whodunit, the new Brazilian series Omniscient, aka Onisciente, might prove a pleasant surprise for genre fans. It arrived on Netflix today, January 29, a Wednesday no less, with very little fanfare or advertising, but don’t let that put you off — the Big N releases so much international content that you can scarcely keep up with it these days, and there are gems all over the place if you’re willing to scroll through the thumbnails for long enough to find them.
I don’t know if I’d necessarily call Omniscient a gem, but it is credible, watchable sci-fi that helps to disguise an unimpressive budget with a distinct visual style. I don’t suppose there’s much subtlety in a red-means-danger aesthetic, but it’s something, right? And besides, danger is everywhere in this totalitarian surveillance state where citizens are monitored twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week by all-seeing drones.
Of course, this is justified by ludicrous statistics — only four homicides in five years! — in much the same way that the Purge is always vindicated as a crime-fighting measure when it’s really just a means for elites to further exploit the downtrodden. Is the highly-advanced future-tech corporation to be trusted? Are the ostensibly privileged citizens on the inside of the city really better off than those in the lawless outskirts, who are unmonitored and thus free? You already know the answer to these questions, obviously, but Omniscient will be more fun if you pretend you don’t.
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Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.