Shadow and Bone season 1 review – Netflix welcomes the Grishaverse with ease Our next obsession.

April 22, 2021
Daniel Hart 0
Netflix, TV Reviews
4

Summary

While it’s too early to signal whether Shadow and Bone will have the same impact on pop culture as Game of Thrones, it definitely has an opportunity to expand a wide-ranging universe. It has delivered the first objective, but longevity will be the next goal.

Previous EpisodeView all
4

Summary

While it’s too early to signal whether Shadow and Bone will have the same impact on pop culture as Game of Thrones, it definitely has an opportunity to expand a wide-ranging universe. It has delivered the first objective, but longevity will be the next goal.

This review of Netflix’s Shadow and Bone season 1 contains no spoilers. The fantasy YA series will be released on the streaming service on April 23, 2021. 

In the shadows of social media, whispers have been heard — “Netflix is bringing the next Game of Thrones.” Let’s hope this one can be finished better. While Netflix’s Shadow and Bone is coated in the YA genre and is not as intoxicatingly detailed as the mentioned series, by the time you reach the finale, you are sold into a new universe — the Grishaverse. Based on Leigh Bardugo’s worldwide bestselling Grishaverse novels, the YA fantasy series dares to be underestimated and duly over-delivers.

Shadow and Bone presents a war-torn world, divided by a dark, monstrous wall called the Fold. The series welcomes Alina Starkov (played by Jessie Mei Li), an orphan serving the elite army that works with Grisha (magical soldiers). When Alina discovers she is more than a mapmaker, she ventures into a new world, where she discovers her new powers and learns how to use them against dark forces.

There’s plenty of plot-fleshing in the story, and while it has the “YA series generic feel” between the cast members, it does not feel overwritten. The exposition is not overly dialogued to the audience. There’s plenty of breathing space in the story, providing depth for viewers to care for the characters.

The key selling point that provides an emotional edge is the story between Alina and her lifelong friend Mal, the best tracker in the elite army (played by Archie Renaux). Their yearning to always be together brings a softer part of the plot that overrides the darkness that consumes the universe — a union that goes beyond powerful forces. Viewers will be compelled by their contagious on-screen friendship that has the chemistry to campaign #TeamAlinaMal on social media. On the flip side, the introduction of General Kirigan (played by Ben Barnes) brings a different side to Alina’s life and one that is highly intriguing. The production team clearly curated on-screen relationships between the characters, and it works.

The other side of Shadow and Bone season 1 brings the story of The Crows, based on the novel Six of Crows that is part of the same universe. Introducing Kaz (played by Freddy Carter), Inej (played by Amita Suman), and Jesper (played by Kit Young), the Netflix series brings a sense of adventure that interlinks with Alina and the war-torn world. Their story is equally sold with care, and their team-like approach brings a merrymaking experience. 

Cut through the universe, the well-cast characters, and the dark theme, Shadow and Bone relies strongly on divisions; it monitors the gap between classes and revels in the toxicity of racial tensions. Platforming a diverse cast, the Netflix series brings salient messages that strongly resonate — while serving the YA genre, it’s not just for teenagers; this is a series that can easily connect many demographics through important storytelling.

While it’s too early to signal whether Shadow and Bone will have the same impact on pop culture as Game of Thrones, it definitely has an opportunity to expand a wide-ranging universe. It has delivered the first objective, but longevity will be the next goal.

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