The Imperfects season 1 review – overlong and predictable genre fare

September 8, 2022
Jonathon Wilson 1
Netflix, Streaming Service, TV, TV Reviews
3

Summary

The Imperfects has a couple of solid ideas, but its overlong runtime exposes the cracks in its tropey foundations.

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3

Summary

The Imperfects has a couple of solid ideas, but its overlong runtime exposes the cracks in its tropey foundations.

This review of Netflix’s The Imperfects Season 1 is spoiler-free. 


Another day, another genre-blending young-adult series on Netflix. This one, created by Shelley Eriksen and Dennis Heaton from a story by Kim Garland, is reminiscent of a whole bunch more, perhaps most notably, given its home, The Umbrella Academy. It seems there is no end to the appeal of eccentric teens trying to find themselves in the aftermath of something that makes them very… well, shall we say different?

I have to say I don’t mind the premise here. In short, it revolves around Abbi (Rhianna Jagpal), Juan (Inaki Godoy), and Tilda (Morgan Taylor Campbell) having been experimented on by one Dr. Alex Sarkov (Rhys Nicholson), resulting in them becoming, respectively, a succubus, a chupacabra, and a banshee. Cool idea! It works as both an excuse to flex some of the FX budget and do some marketing legwork, but it also, obviously, works as a coming-of-age metaphor for growing up, standing out, fitting in, and coming to terms with who we are.

Some of this commentary is a bit obvious – the banshee is the lead singer in a band, for instance – but it goes to some intriguing places. The idea of “genetic disorders” has long been a pop-cultural stand-in for bigotry – remember that scene in X2 when Bobby Drake “comes out” as a mutant to his parents – but it requires decently compelling characters, and if you can say anything for The Imperfects, it has those. They offer a certain charm and relatability; a reminder of what it felt like to be at that crossroads in your life when you leave the regimentation of education behind and have to find your way in the big, wide world.

As ever with a show like this, both adults and young adults are straining against archetypes somewhat, and they don’t all manage to overcome some of the stereotypical presentations, even across ten 45-ish-minute episodes (which is too many, for what that’s worth.) There is an elevation of quality as things go, though; once the introductions are out of the way the show settles into a better rhythm and loses a lot of the formulaic gimmicks like the title card intros and the flashbacks filling in important backstory and character-building groundwork. The CGI is better than many of The Imperfects’ contemporaries, even if it shares the same dour tone, and there’s a certain chintzy charm to the whole endeavor that some might even say is increased by the odd overblown moments in acting, dialogue, and the story turns.

But ten episodes are just far too many, and there isn’t enough solid plotting to sustain that order, so the pace sags here and there to the show’s noticeable detriment. There also isn’t enough thematic depth here. Yes, the message – you’re not a monster even if everyone says you are and outward appearances might suggest so – is valuable, but it’s also obvious and builds to no really meaningful or surprising conclusions.

Ultimately, The Imperfects feels like exactly the kind of show Netflix would have thrown millions of marketing dollars at just a couple of years ago but now simply can’t be bothered because its library is so full of shows very much like it. In having some decent ideas and personalities wedged within the usual mediocre genre fare, it mostly just lives up to its title.

You can stream The Imperfects Season 1 exclusively on Netflix.

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