Lockwood & Co is available to stream on Netflix on 27th January 2023.
If there’s something weird, and it don’t look good, who ya gonna call? Back in 1984, the answer was simple, Egon Spengler, Peter Venkman, Ray Stantz and Winston Zeddemore. But in a dystopian version of our current world, you may want to look up Anthony Lockwood, George Karim and Lucy Carlyle, otherwise known as Lockwood & Co. Based on the bestselling novels by Jonathan Stroud, Lockwood & Co mixes ghosts, ghouls, hormones and action with a Victorian-Esque mystery. The result is a devilishly entertaining concoction that will appeal to teens and twenty-somethings alike. Lockwood & Co is the kind of show that could only come from either Netflix or BBC Three; in this case, it’s the former. At the heart of this adaptation is chief mixologist Joe Cornish, who adapts Stroud’s work with the utmost care and attention to detail, while stamping the resulting show with his trademark brilliance.
Set in an alternate version of present-day London after the onset of a ghostly pandemic called ‘The Problem,’ the safety and security of the living depend on the ghost-hunting talents of a particular group of adolescents who can sense and fight the deadly spiritual apparitions that come out to play when the sun goes down. These teens are born with a gift that can also be a curse as they bravely attempt to save the world from ‘The Problem’ that seeks to consume it.
Lucy Carlyle (Ruby Stokes) is one of those talented young people. However, Ruby’s skills are far beyond those of her contemporaries, even if she struggles to accept her uniqueness. As she flees to London following a devastating ghost attack in her Northern home town, she meets the dashing but mysterious Anthony Lockwood (Cameron Chapman) and his sidekick, the ultra-smart George Karim (Ali Hadji-Heshmati). But can Lucy find a much-needed home in the newly formed Lockwood & Co? And can Anthony and his trusted Dr Watson (Karim) keep the fledgling business alive against the stiff and highly organised competition?
Cameron Chapman as Anthony Lockwood
Rather than spend his entire first series focused on ‘The Problem,’ Cornish smartly opts to place the back story into the opening credits; here we are treated to newspaper headlines talking about the millions of deaths, the night curfews and worldwide economic collapse while spelling out the rules of ghost hunting and the techniques used to capture and contain the apparitions. This is a world absent of our modern tech, the touch-screen replaced by a sword, and social media replaced by libraries. Even the ghosts have a Victorian air to them as they glide and dance in the air before morphing into something far more deadly. Each spectre is a loving homage to films like Poltergeist and Raiders of the Lost Ark in their ethereal design. At the same time, the action and atmosphere echo Sherlock, Jonathan Creek, Young Sherlock Holmes and even Doctor Who. From the opening scenes, Lockwood & Co is alive with imagination; the CGI far less important than the characters, story and atmosphere.
Hadji-Heshmati as George Karim
However, it is within its rejection of lavish special effects that Lockwood & Co may also suffer. In a world where many teens expect Hollywood effects and continuous high-octane action, Lockwood and Co may prove too slow to keep their attention. My hope is, therefore, placed in the hands of the three brilliant young actors on screen. Chapman is charming, electric and yet mysterious as Lockwood. At the same time, Stokes, Lucy is haunted by a past horror she can’t forget, one that has left her uncertain of her emerging powers, yet full of fight.
Meanwhile, Hadji-Heshmati’s George holds the Lockwood house together with his deadpan humour, geeky brilliance and investigative prowess. You want to see these characters grow and develop from the first minute they arrive on the screen, and you don’t want to leave their company as each episode closes. They are the glue that holds this quintessentially British supernatural tale together and what makes it so engaging.
So, who will you call if there’s something strange in your neighbourhood? My money is on Lockwood & Co.
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United Kingdom | 8 Episodes | 2022
Lockwood & Co is the kind of show that could only come from either Netflix or BBC Three; in this case, it’s the former. At the heart of this adaptation is chief mixologist Joe Cornish, who adapts Stroud’s work with the utmost care and attention to detail, while stamping the resulting show with his trademark brilliance.