Lockwood & Co. (Season 1, 2023)
Creator: Joe Cornish
Cast: Ruby Stokes, Cameron Chapman, Ali Hadji-Heshmati, Jack Bandeira, Ivanno Jeremiah, Louise Brealey, Hayley Konadu, Luke Treadaway
A tiny startup, run by two teenage boys and a newly arrived, supremely psychically gifted girl, a renegade trio destined to unravel a mystery that will change the course of history – IMDB
Based on the novels by Jonathan Stroud, Lockwood And Co. is a Netflix series set in an alternate London which has been infected with The Problem which has birthed a world of kids born with different talents for ghost hunting. Surrounding this is Lucy who runs away from her training and ends up working for a young agency run by Anthony Lockwood and other associate George Karim. Together they face different cases together. While I haven’t read the novels, the first season is based on two of the books The Screaming Staircase and The Whispering Skull. The show follows itself in the recent successes of kids/teens in peril as the main cast like Stranger Things and Locke and Key.
There’s a lot to love about Lockwood and co. One of such is its setting. There’s nothing like and alternate reality to make it feel like a whole new world. In this case, its the ghost-infested UK which doesn’t really spend a lot of time laying down what happened for it turn this way but uses multiple articles in its intro to lay down the basics. Its a pretty clever way to let the audience learn more about this world as the show progresses. The quiet curfew streets of London and the haunted ghosts flying about and grave diggers in cemetary being seemingly normal while the policeman are now ghost hunters mostly comprised of kids who have discovered their talent whether to sense or see ghosts to some extent but as we know by the end, will also gradually lose the talent as they get older. Its a grim and exciting world especially in the starting sequence when the first conversation shows a woman who hired Lockwood and Co. and tells them about how its sad that they never go to experience a normal childhood (compared to her).
Lockwood and Co, the agency is the focus of the show with its three members being the main cast and focus and their professional relationship and personal connection growing as a “family”. Anthony Lockwood (Cameron Chapman) is the owner of this private paranormal investigative agency and he is both talented and reckless and willing to do anything to prove him and the agency’s value. For a debut role, Cameron Chapman does a decent job. There are certain moments especially in earlier episodes that does feel like he is not quite at ease and a little less emotive however, it does slowly find a better momentum. Usually YA series tend to have that issue for the most part so its rather expected but his character is pretty well-written that it does help.
Lucy (Ruby Stokes) is a runaway from the government funded Fittes Agency (Lockwood and co’s main competition) when a case goes wrong and she loses her entire team resulting in her best friend being ghost locked due to a bad judgment call from their supervisor Jacobs who denies the situation and shifts the blame to her instead. Refusing to apologize and leaving her unloving mother behind, she seeks refuge in this job and soon realizes that she has outstandingly superior abilities in paranormal connections as she can build a psychic connection with them and speak to some stronger ghost forms. Ruby Stokes does a great job with this character even if its hard to not think of her as a younger version of a combination of Brie Larson and Jennifer Lawrence in various angles (in my opinion). Lucy is one of the better developed and executed characters in season 1 and is a great strong female lead.
The third member who feels more neglected o the sidelines is their researcher George Karim (Ali Hadji-Heshmati) who has some rather odd habits but despite feeling insignificant to the group does end up being quite a strong asset. While George does feel much more toned down in his role compared to Lucy and Lockwood’s, he does get a lot more spotlight by the end of the season and he is the balance that his two associates need to make this agency work.
There’s a lot of elements to the story that makes for a well-paced series and making it have the action and adventure to keep things moving. While there are some moments of hints of romantic vibes between Lucy and Lockwood, for the most part, it never dwells on it for too long. The ghosts and the mysteries that they end up trying to solve are pretty fun and while its not considered very scary, it still have some pretty good ghost moments.
Overall, Lockwood and Co. is a fun series. Perhaps not quite as polished as say Stranger Things or Locke and Key but there’s a good pace and a well-structured set of characters. Add in the intriguing alternate reality setting of a grim and dark UK with a rather uninventive problem that has turned its world upside down called The Problem, this world feels like there’s a whole lot more to discover than simply what the first season has dolled out. There’s a lot more to look at from its haunted relics to what’s behind the door in Lockwood’s house, the mystery behind what goes on behind the Fittes Agency and who is this mystery man they called Golden Blade played by Luke Treadaway. Season one ended on a lot of loose ends and even a cliffhanger, which is something of a pet peeve of mine, since there’s no confirmation whether it would get a second season. If there was one criticism, that’s it right there but seriously TV producers need to stop doing season finale cliffhangers if the next season isn’t greenlit yet. Despite that being the case, its safe to say I’m hoping a Season 2 will happen.