It does not seem very debatable that the fundamental idea of The One (2021), Netflix series which adapts the homonymous novel by John Marrs (2016), not too cool because it has already had a journey in other works. The movie TiMER (Jac Schaeffer, 2009), the episodes “Hang the DJ” (4 × 04) by Black Mirror (Charlie Brooker, 2011) and “Matchmaker” (1 × 01) by the failed Dimension 404 (Will Campos, Desmond Dolly, Daniel Johnson and David Welch, 2017) and the six that make up the first season of Soulmates (William Bridges and Brett Goldstein, 2020).
Thus, the question of why it was able to reach the highest position of viewings on the successful streaming platform and why viewers have talked so much about it is most legitimate.
The reason cannot be related to the fame of its creator, the British Howard Overman, because it doesn’t. His television career pivots between the interesting, such as Misfits (2009-2013) or Future Man (2017-2020), whose authorship and unpretentiousness he shares with Kyle Hunter and Ariel Shaffir. Or less prominent series such as Atlantis (2013-2015), with Johnny Capps and Julian Murphy, and The War of the Worlds (2019).
On the other hand, The One begins, like so many other cinematographic mysteries, with an approach thorny to generate curiosity in the public and to continue to eat chapter after chapter to discover their circumstances. And perhaps it is the story of these characteristics that loses the least time in exposing its tessitura, at a good pace.
The One: a well-known premise
But, although his dialogues are credible and generally eloquent, The One It cannot avoid at first that its technological premise and its situations remind us of others already seen in the previous proposals. There are even scenes that remind us of very specific TiMER and Soulmates. Because they are the same. And the criminal part of his argument brings it closer to the spirit of determined deliveries of the second.
The big difference of this Netflix series is, of course, that the plot is prolonged in the whole of it, no self-concluding episodes or anthology-style previous. And that, nevertheless, there are behaviors and decisions of one of the protagonists that links the series to others as far away as Breaking Bad (Vince Gilligan, 2008-2013) or House of Cards (Beau Willimon, 2013-2018).
On the other hand, The One includes a different twist that takes things in other directions to end up in the usual place, and certain surprises. It is distinguished from the other four fictions in the exhibition of the love connections among his poor creatures, much more visceral in their determinism, and in that it lacks truly futuristic elements. Their society is ours, without the blissful pandemic context, but with the advance that has been allowed by its pimp science premise.
And, as the eight chapters follow one another in the first season of this Netflix series, one wonders if the two narrative threads adjacent to the one we assume to be the main or juicier – without waste – is expected to determine or converge on the latter in some way.
Missing Black Mirror
The fundamental question with The One is if we are facing a series that was really necessary. None of them do it for their argument beyond covering the human need to be told stories often, of course. But, if we assume such a thing and the focus is placed on the timeliness of a filmic work, it can only be so because it combines common ingredients in a groundbreaking way. Because their perspective is very particular or their own adventures, extraordinary, truthful or worthy of being known by the public in the case of being based on real events.
The question is whether this Netflix series brings something new that was not or could not be offered in an episode of Soulmates, or if the fruit of this approach to the premise is better than its predecessors.
The One is not particularly flashy, never shows off in your audiovisual planningIt is limited to a composition that works. The Ian Arber and Dave Rowntree (The Capture) soundtrack doesn’t give us chills of taste or excitement and we don’t recall it later, nor does its selection of songs. AND its cast only meetsWhether it’s Hannah Ware (Boss) as Rebecca Webb, Zoë Tapper (Mr. Selfridge) as Kate Saunders, Lois Chimimba (Doctor Who) playing Hannah Bailey or her colleagues, even with how badly they have sometimes directed Jana Pérez (Fariña) as Sofía Rodríguez.
So there has been so much talk about The One, not because of merit, but perhaps because television series in the style or with the implications of Black mirror.