Locke & Key season 1 review – Netflix series is not a good advertisement for the comics

By Daniel Hart
Published: February 6, 2020 (Last updated: December 20, 2023)
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Netflix Series Locke & Key season 1


Netflix Series Locke & Key season 1 provides too many lifeless chapters in order to be considered a successful adaptation of the comics.

This review of Netflix Series Locke & Key season 1 contains no spoilers.

With Netflix seemingly giving up on their ambitions to host Marvel and DC originals, it was only sensible to delve into other untouched Universes, and what a better way to do that by bringing in Joe Hill’s (son of Stephen King) comic Locke & Key for a suitable series adaptation to add to the likes of Umbrella Academy. 

And fans were inevitably excited too, especially after Locke & Key repeatedly failed to find a home. But unfortunately, unlike Umbrella Academy, Netflix’s Locke & Key season 1 fails to live up the buzz that has been building since 2018. It’s a failed IDW comic series adaptation that lacks imagination on the screen, which is ironic considering the story revolves around magical keys that perform different skill sets.

I haven’t read the comics but I fail to believe that this Netflix series is a good advertisement for them. After an impactful opening, where the audience is introduced to the Locke family who are relocating to an old ancestral family home after the death of the family’s patriarch, we are set up and presume to be led down a path where the stakes increase with each chapter, and our imagination is complemented by visual openings that the keys present.

I sense that Locke & Key season 1 is a victim of its own plot device. Key after key is introduced, so much so, that the excitement of discovery becomes secondary — it hardly matters when a character finds a new key. Its repetition is a flaw, despite the fact it’s likely that the successful comic follows the same junctions — it might work in the comics, but it doesn’t in serial form. There’s only so many times we can conjure creative ways of finding a key, and seeing what it can do.

And noting the abject performances is a great shame because the cast barely looks invested in their roles apart from Jackson Robert Scott who plays Bode Locke. The key character developments are born from two broody teenagers that never express their true problems and a mother that cannot remember anything and thinly performs for most of the series. The mother Nina is incredibly boring. Bode is the light at the end of the tunnel for the Netflix series, offering enthusiasm and drive for the role — but he’s performing at a funeral, mourning the death of a comic adaptation.

Of course, Locke & Key season 1 has a villain that effects the lives of the Locke children, and without spoiling, the villain is one of the main reasons to continue. Some of the episodes repeat seen-before plot points, with the writers seemingly choosing to remind the audience of the basis of the plot. I would not hesitate to say that at least 4 of the episodes are fillers, one being the penultimate, which encouraged zero excitement for the finale. And let’s not even discuss the finale — yawn.

And I say this with sadness because I had my eye on Netflix’s Locke & Key season 1 for quite some time but ironically it is too many keys, too many pointless chapters and lifeless performances from an unsold cast.

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