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OCTOBER FACTION

Written By:

paul mount
october

REVIEWED: SEASON 1 (ALL EPISODES) | WHERE TO WATCH: NETFLIX

You’d be forgiven for thinking that the last thing anyone really needs right now is yet another ten-episode Netflix series about angsty teenagers ‘coming of age’ and learning to cope with the joys and miseries of growing up while also coming to term with their… wait for it… extraordinary superhuman abilities. Netflix has been there and done that and yet shows no inclination of stopping going there and doing that again and again in an apparently endless stream of glossy shows starring impossibly good-looking teenagers glowering at the camera while keeping their mom and dad at arm’s length as they hurl people around with their incredible telekinetic powers. October Faction, created by Damian Kindler and based on a graphic novel by Steve Niles and Damien Worm, is cut very much from Netflix’s favoured cloth and while it bears a few uncomfortable initial similarities to Locke and Key which debuted only a week or so earlier, there’s enough going on here to justify the time spent in a TV genre which is starting to become a little over-familiar. Oh, and there are some decent monsters too which gives even the dreariest teen show a head start

As October Faction opens its account we meet the Allens, our hero family, as they return to their hometown in upstate New York following a family bereavement. Unbeknownst to the kids Geoff and Viv, their parents Fred and Deloris are globe-trotting monster hunters in the long-term employ of a mysterious organisation known as ‘The Presidio’. Despite the objections of Geoff and Viv, the Allens relocate to Fred’s family home, but they quickly discover that there’s no such thing as ‘a quiet life’. The kids battle to adapt to their changed circumstances – cue much snarkiness and frankly intolerable teen impertinence – as Fred and Deloris attempt to continue concealing their secret lives from all around them. But their past won’t leave them alone; they’re being stalked by a terrifying warlock creature with a nasty habit of freezing time and bloodily destroying everyone in her path as she hunts down the Allens for reasons which become evident deeper into the series.

If you’re expecting a Supernatural-style monster-fest then you’ll be a little disappointed; there are some decent snarling boogeymen dotted throughout the series, but they’re not really the focal point of the show. This is really about a dysfunctional family with secrets – the kids, naturally, have latent powers too – and while the storylines involving Geoff and Viv are a little generic and tend to slow the action down, the series really comes to life when we spend time with Fred and Deloris (JC Mackenzie and Tamara Taylor, both excellent) whose maturity gives the show a frisson it would sorely lack if they were sidelined. The writing’s not really particularly accomplished, there are probably a few too many flashbacks (can no-one write linear television anymore?), but action scenes are pleasantly visceral and, after a sluggish start, October Faction finds its feet halfway through its run when it develops a real sense of purpose and direction as the stakes are raised, and the entire family finds itself fighting for its future. October Faction is unlikely to rock anyone’s world, but there’s just about enough going on both narratively and visually to mark it apart from its teen-appeal bedfellows in a very over-subscribed Netflix marketplace.

paul mount

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