At the Moment Season 1 Review – A sweet but longwinded Taiwanese anthology

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: November 11, 2023 (Last updated: January 21, 2024)
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At the Moment Season 1 Review
At the Moment Season 1 | Image via Netflix

Pardon me for thinking we were over the COVID-19 pandemic, or at the very least over pandemic media, because goodness me, some terrible garbage emerged during that period, didn’t it? The Taiwanese Netflix anthology At the Moment does seem to have missed this memo, but it’s not too much of a problem in this case anyway. The ten-episode series, about lightly interconnected love stories, isn’t really a pandemic show, at least not in any way that matters.

In that case, what is At the Moment? Well, it’s sweet. Sometimes it’s sad. It’s altogether too long and, as is the way of all anthologies, it’s inconsistent. But it’s mostly inoffensive and reliably charming drama, and a who’s-who of talent – including Gingle Wang, Wu Kang-ren, Ruby Lin, Alyssa Chia, Dee Hsu, Austin Lin, and Esther Liu, plus many more – does most of the heavy lifting.

At the Moment Season 1 review and plot summary

Imagine – you won’t have to try hard, it was only a couple of years ago – a world in which everyone wears masks and social boundaries have been completely rewritten. Now imagine trying to find love in that environment, and the ups and downs that might ensue from doing so, and you have a pretty good idea of what every episode of At the Moment is about.

They’re all different, of course, since this is an anthology, but on a fundamental level, they’re all very similar. The people and the exact circumstances of their relationships vary, but the underlying principles of trying to navigate human emotions and relationships often amid bad things happening remain consistent.

The other thing that remains consistent is the length, and there’s a solid case to be made that all of these episodes – they run for about an hour – are too long. There’s no real justification for a single story in an anthology collection to be this elongated, and it only exacerbates the feeling of going through the same motions each time. An ideal binge-watch this most certainly is not.

Across a wider timeframe, At the Moment is more palatable. It has a strain of optimism that I quite enjoyed, probably because it’s rare to see, and there’s some pleasure to be had in how the scenarios fold in different issues and talking points while also remaining connected within the same on-screen universe – albeit in a sometimes quite tokenistic way.

But you’ll buy in. It’s inevitable, really, since its indulgent length aside, At the Moment understands the building blocks of good drama, the tension of a will-they-won’t-they scenario, and that very human desire to find an answer to an obvious question of whether two people will end up together or not. The major downside is that the show almost always delays the answer for so long that people might switch off entirely, but those who don’t will, generally speaking, get a worthwhile return on their investment.

Not in every episode since all anthologies are fated to be uneven, the very format lending itself to the idea of wavering quality between episodes. The cast is always good, though, and there’s a baseline level of high-quality construction that is just difficult to quibble with. The makers of this series knew what they were doing – they just seemed so excited by the prospect that they forgot to end every episode half an hour earlier.

Is At the Moment Season 1 worth your time?

The crux of the matter is that At the Moment is pleasant and optimistic in a world where pleasantries and optimism aren’t exactly at a premium, and it manages to achieve this while being backdropped by an unprecedented global health event that many people – probably even most – look back on with tremendous sadness and frustration. At the very least, this deserves some credit.

But it’s easy to make the case that At the Moment doesn’t provide enough truly compelling drama to justify how longwinded it is. This number of episodes, running for this long, can’t help but feel a little like an indulgence, and it’s always off-putting to me when a show’s creators overestimate its appeal to this extent.

So, temper your expectations. But don’t let me put you off. If you’re in the mood for a quietly charming series that’ll keep you occupied for quite some time, then there are worse options, for sure. Just don’t expect to be looking back on the pandemic any more fondly for having watched it.

What did you think of At the Moment Season 1? Comment below.

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