The One – Season 1

Rating:

Match Game

Main Cast: Hannah Ware, Zoe Tapper

Creator: Howard Overman

It’s a really clever premise. The One creates a world in which each person has a single genetically based match somewhere in the world and that science can find that person using DNA. The story itself revolves around the concept, the scientists who brought it to market, the unintended societal consequences, and a single tragedy that ties disparate characters together.

Our main character is Rebecca Webb (Hannah Ware). Rebecca discovered the science of the perfect match with fellow researcher James (Dimitri Leonidas) and the two co-founded The One. The company leveraged the science into a high stakes dating service that offered people the chance to find their one-and-only by simply sending in a strand of hair.

As we enter this near-future world of perfect matches the science is wreaking havoc on marriages and making Rebecca Webb a superstar. She and her match, Ethan (Wilf Scolding), are cult figures, with a carefully sculpted and tended image.

Behind the scenes things are not what they seem. A body is found in the river and Detective Kate Saunders (Zoe Tapper) begins to chip away at the perfect façade of The One as her investigation leads to the company’s doorstep.

Meanwhile, we meet people who are getting matched, or who have been affected by others getting matched, and we learn about the origins of the company and the histories of its founders. The series does an excellent job of weaving each story into the greater narrative so we never feel like we’ve been taken out of the main plot to examine the phenomenon of matching.

The One is a British series and feels quite a bit like an extended episode of Black Mirror. The dark side of emerging technology combines with human fallibility to create a world that isn’t quite dystopian, but is also not the utopia of true love promised by The One.

Outstanding performances from both Hannah Ware as Rebecca and Zoe Tapper as Kate ground the series, but the supporting cast creates the richer world. One particularly effective subplot features Lois Chimimba and Eric Kofi-Abrefa as a couple on the periphery of the main plot who are also dealing with the fallout of the technology. Their performances are excellent.

I have two problems with The One. The first is that the series doesn’t really back away from the notion of a single soul mate, and that is one of my personal pet peeves. It certainly presents the problem associated with the technology, but doesn’t do enough to dispel the rom/com inspired myth of the perfect partner.

The second problem is that the series suffers from a lack of any lightness, particularly as it progresses. A little banter between Kate and her partner is not enough to offset the darkness of the theme and the plot. There is a reason that most of us don’t want to watch a six hour episode of Black Mirror.

The One is well structured, paced, and acted, but in the end I didn’t really like it. I liked some of the supporting characters and found them interesting but the heaviness of the main plot drags the whole production down and in the end it’s all quite depressing. I’m giving it three stars because I believe it’s well conceived and produced, but not a recommendation because none of that matters when all you feel when it’s over is sadness.

The One is streaming on Netflix.

More Netflix Sci-Fi/Fantasy:

Warrior Nun ~ I Am Not Okay With This ~ The Witcher ~ The Society

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