The Coyotes starts slow, but the well-worn premise lays the groundwork for a promising story of teens getting in over their heads.
This review of The Coyotes is spoiler-free.
After Into the Night, Belgium has emerged as a sort of sleeper nation in the Streaming Wars, and their latest offering, The Coyotes – or simply Coyotes depending on where you are or what web page you’re looking at – is obviously looking to make a name for itself on the strength of a universally beloved premise. Basically: Here are some teenagers, and they’re going to make lots of very terrible decisions.
This isn’t a new formula, but it’s one that yields solid results when it’s done well and is likely to entice an audience even when it isn’t, as evidenced by something like Outer Banks, which The Coyotes feels very much like an analogue to. The familiarity of the premise makes the show harder to get into out of the gate – lots of, “Oh, we’re doing this again,” will blight your experience of the first couple of episodes – but yields a satisfying-enough drama down the line. At just six episodes, the juice is probably worth the squeeze to some extent, not that something like this is likely to attract much attention when its release was flanked by the final seasons of both Lost in Space and Money Heist.
Nevertheless, there’s always a market for stories that open in the woods late at night. The general premise of The Coyotes is that the eponymous team of Scouts’ newest member, Kevin (Louka Minnella), finds some diamonds that belong to someone whose diamonds you don’t want to find, and we’re off, plot-wise. But the appeal is mostly in the characters. Kevin’s a bit of a tearaway, the best friend of Furet (Kassim Meesters) and younger brother of scout leader Doberman (Félix Vannoorenberghe), but he has some instant romantic chemistry with Marie (Dara Tromboff), the daughter of the woman – Anne-Françoise (Valérie Bodson) – whose property the Scout camp is on. Then again, it might just be drug-induced chemistry, since Kevin has a fondness for substances and is actually high on MDMA when he finds the diamonds, which is rarely a good way to find anything.
Once the whole thing gets going, The Coyotes still struggles with its broad-strokes approach to plotting and characterization, especially at such a brief runtime. But it’s a trustworthy type of show with several familiar elements that work, a decent caper powering it, and some intriguing character dynamics that help to shake up the usual formula just enough to make the show worthy of a cautious recommendation.