Crime and thriller films have found a formula over the past twenty years, especially when it comes to the tropes that work for commercial success. Whether it’s the last girl, the adults seeming practically useless in any capacity, or a group of friends who stumble upon an accident, these storylines have captivated audiences time and time again for a some time now. It doesn’t matter if there’s a time jump between when tragedy strikes, as seen on shows like yellow jackets– some things will come back to haunt you no matter what. That’s the plot of Apple TV+’s new TV show.
In May 2022, Apple TV+ debuted Now, a dramatic thriller set in Miami. Don’t let the US setting create expectations – the majority of the show takes place in a Spanish-speaking community. The show was created by Ramón Campos, Teresa Fernández-Valdés and Gema R. Neira. These three have worked together on Netflix shows before Cable Girls and Jaguar. The cast of the series brings together some of the best actors in the Spanish-speaking world. Marina of Tavira (Rome), Rosie Perez (Birds of prey, The stewardess), José María Yazpik, Maribel Verdú and Manolo Cardona, among many other brilliant actors Now.
A tragedy on graduation night
Now is Apple TV+’s first Spanish-language television series, showcasing the platform’s commitment to making global television. With the success of other Apple new international tv show, Pachinkoit seems the quality is on point with their non-English releases, and the hype behind the shows has propelled them to mainstream status. Now, also has the potential to become another success for the platform, especially since its premise is particularly attractive. It begins with college graduation, the dawn of a new life for a young group of friends ready for their next chapter.
However, tragedy strikes during their celebrations: only five of the six friends make it out of that night alive. Another innocent individual will also end up dead at the hands of this group of friends, causing them to walk away from the scene of the crime and stage it to look like an accident. The show’s timeline then splits, deviating from the moments after the murder in 2000 until twenty years later, in 2020, when the five friends meet again at their college reunion.
Overwhelmed by the trauma of what happened, none of them were really able to move on and, to add more to the mix, two local police officers with personal connections to the case get involved in the investigation. But this show’s catalyst for conflict throws a wrench into this reunion: a mysterious individual threatens and blackmails the group into claiming that they know what really happened the night their friend was found face down in the water.
It’s a premise seen before, adding another challenge to distinguish this plot from its predecessors. We might even remember the very popular movie I know what you did last summer, as it has quite a similar story. But there’s a reason this concept has been repeated time and time again in movies and on TV: if done right, it hooks the viewer into its story and characters, drawing them deeper into the complexities behind what might be the truth quote after quote. . Fact Now succeed in it? Yes and no.
While the show could have used the split timeline sparingly, dwelling on the past to set the stage for events that will occur in the future, moments from the past help serve as a mirror for the future. Two of the old friends used to date in college, and when they see each other for the first time in years at the college reunion, they go out and hook up. In moments like these, it becomes clear how the characters cling to the past and the good old days before their friend’s untimely demise. They then become a bit more human, trying almost desperately to reclaim the past that they know deep down is long gone.
The intersection between past and present
The split timelines also help establish who these characters will become in the future. Fresh out of college, you’d imagine they have a checklist of what to do next, almost like a coming-of-age story. This is even shown in the images that open the series: one wants to be the future president of the United States, while another says they are going to help change the world for the better. And some will indeed achieve some notion of their dreams. Marcos, one of their friends, uses his family’s connections and wealth to become one of the Miami area’s most successful surgeons. Another friend, Pedro, is now a top candidate for mayor and seems to have found the typical college love success story.
Others, however, barely make it in the world and have to work hard just to survive and afford the necessities. This class dynamic comes into play in the story, as there are drastic differences between the characters. Marcos comes under greater scrutiny due to the fact that his family is considered to have excessive wealth, which makes his presence among the group of friends quite interesting, especially when he is the subject of scrutiny for his potential role in the death of his friend.
However, one of the main failures of the series is its ability to create characters that have depth. In eight episodes, there are many characters to flesh out and develop, so many of them become rather static. It seems impossible to give every character the chance to shine with the limited amount of time the viewer has with them, and the mysterious elements and ominously ticking clock behind everything that happens. The result of this makes them quite unlikable or superficial, preventing the viewer from connecting with them as a person.
The series’ use of flashbacks and the replacement of older actors with younger ones at times attempts to establish a nuanced rhythm between past and present, but these seem to detract from its current focus. Sometimes it works to establish certain concepts, as mentioned earlier, but overall it slows the pace. Because we as viewers inherently understand that something horrible has happened to this band since it was directly shown, it seems pointless to delve deeper into the past via flashbacks instead of using, for example, a dialog to convey this information.
An old trope, but with representation
Now comes with its strengths. Its cast, all veteran Latin American and American entertainment actors, brings together a collective performance that rises above the shortcomings of the script. Without these actors, the show wouldn’t have turned out the way it did and felt incomplete. The decision to set it up in Miami vindicates another factor that doesn’t come across so clearly unless you research it: visibility.
Miami is a city known for its vibrant diversity and community; more than half of the city’s population is Hispanic. When we think of Miami, it often includes the cultural roots of the Cuban, Caribbean, and Latin American immigrants who reside there. Now is deliberately located in one of these communities and transitions from English to Spanish seamlessly, providing insight for those living comfortably in bilingual environments.
It’s becoming more and more common in mainstream TV and movies, but Now shifts the agency from the dominant English/British American culture to the broader Hispanic culture. Too often, bilingual characters have been used to represent a stereotypesomething that singled out French as classy or Russian speakers as bad guys. Joan the Virgin does a solid job of introducing bilingualism into families, but Now present and normalizes a daily reality for many communities in the United States.
The show has its flaws, but its strong points help balance out the weaker moments somewhat. It fails to distinguish itself story-wise from other shows and movies that came out of the genre, but if one is looking for a TV show in the same vein, it’s pretty solid. It pays homage to its predecessors properly, but may not enchant new viewers to love the series and its genre. NowThe charm of is that it places itself outside of Hollywood’s grip on this kind of story, giving it room to breathe and breathe new life into a concept made what seems to have been a thousand times before.
Now is available to stream exclusively on Apple TV+. It consists of eight episodes that will air weekly until the finale on June 24.
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