Andy Says Film & Television Series

Wanted Undead or Alive: A Look at the Aussie/Netflix Paranormal Drama “Glitch”

“Glitch” Season 1 Cast – Patrick “Paddy” Fitzgerald (Ned Dennehy), Kristen “Kirstie” Darrow (Hannah Monson), James Hayes (Patrick Brammall), Kate Willis (Emma Booth), Charlie Thompson (Sean Keenan), and John Doe (Rodger Corser)

Spooky Sunday… I’ve lost count…

I somehow always manage to gravitate towards the oddball picks on Netflix – a sixth sense I’m almost proud of. Just because they have an algorithm that suggests things I may like, doesn’t mean they usually hit the mark. In fact, I’m frequently surprised and disappointed at what they throw at me. Netflix, I thought you knew me.

Just when I’m about to give up, a proper gem is offered up in apology (because I need to believe that). One such find is the Aussie paranormal drama series Glitch, which first aired in 2015 and got picked up as a Netflix original (in cooperation with ABC — Australian Broadcasting Corporation) for a second season (which dropped on Netflix internationally this past November).

Glitch was created by Tony Ayres and Louise Fox (and directed by Emma Freeman – Seasons 1 and 2 and Tony Krawitz – Season 2) and centers on the sudden appearance of seven strangers who seem to have miraculously risen from the grave, and no, they’re not zombies. In fact, they’re in perfect health, with no sign of the physical trauma they suffered that took them from this mortal coil in the first place.

The Risen Season 1 – Paddy (Ned Dennehy), Kirstie (Hannah Monson), Maria (Daniela Farinacci), Kate (Emma Booth), Charlie (Sean Keenan), and John (Rodger Corser)

“I thought you were a zombie! But you talk!” – Beau (Glitch)
“What?! Of course, I bloody talk!” – Paddy (Glitch)


The Walking Living Dead…
Local police officer Sergeant James Hayes (Patrick Brammall) is called in to investigate the disturbance at the cemetery, only to find these strangers, naked, dirty and disoriented, with little-to-no recollection of who they are or where they are, let alone how they died.

The where is the town of Yoorana, Victoria, a sleepy little community where nothing exciting ever seems to happen, that is until The Risen (as some call them) arrive, each one a mystery in need of solving.

Dr. Elishia McKellar (Genevieve O’Reilly) in “Glitch”.

Glitch’s Risen includes, Yoorana’s first mayor from the 1800’s Patrick “Paddy” Fitzgerald (Ned Dennehy – Peaky Blinders, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows), 1980’s teen Kirsten “Kirstie” Darrow (Hannah Monson), Charlie Thompson (Sean Keenan) a young WWI vet, Maria Massola (Daniela Farinacci) a religious housewife from the 1960’s, Carlo Nico (James Monarski) an Italian man from the 1940’s, and John Doe (Rodger Corser), whose violent outbursts push everyone away except for Dr. Elishia McKellar (Genevieve O’Reilly – Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Star Wars: Rebels, Young Victoria), who seems to take a special interest in him. 

James sets out to learn more about The Risen, why they’re back, and what connects them, as Elisha attempts to uncover the science of their return. Providing it is science and not the supernatural at work, as Maria believes. Though repeated references to the mysterious Noregard Pharmaceuticals plant points to the “big bad” lying within its walls, somewhere in town, that question remains up in the air for all of Season 1.

A heartbroken Kate (Emma Booth) in “Glitch”.

If You Love Something, Set it Free. If it Comes Back, It May Be Your Un-Dead Wife…

Things take a turn for “the domestic” when James discovers his first wife Kate (Emma Booth – Once Upon a Time), who lost a battle with breast cancer just two short years before, among The Risen. James is stunned, elated and also torn, caught between a rock and a hard place when Kate discovers he is now married to her best friend Sarah (Emily Barclay) and Sarah is 8 months pregnant, while Kate had never been able to conceive children of her own. Double ouch!

There’s only one witness to The Risen crawling out of their graves, Beau Cooper (Aaron McGrath), a local teenager who, of course, manages to record this miracle on his smartphone, only to have it stolen by a group of rich bullies, who just happen to be descended from none other than Paddy Fitzerald. Paddy and Beau form an unlikely friendship, as the 19th-century man needs some help navigating the 21st.

Paddy (Ned Dennehy) helps himself to a pint, as Beau (Aaron McGrath) looks on awestruck.

The Risen soon learn they’re running out of time, as outside threats loom ever closer and they’re trapped by an invisible boundary surrounding Yoorana that will kill them if they cross it, essentially turning them to dust (not unlike vampires when exposed to the sun). Elishia and James hide the group from the authorities, including from his friend, fellow police officer Vic Eastley (Andrew McFarlane), who after learning about the living dead, gets into a car accident and, immediately thereafter, starts to hunt them. This danger links them all together, forging a powerful, protective bond among the reborn, but will that bond be enough to save them from death a second time?

Andy Says…
While it calls to mind The Returned, there’s something unique and charming about this Aussie entry into the dark dimension. With its understated style, rural settings, and at times, heartbreaking outlook, Glitch has an emotional hook that draws you in with a compelling story and characters brought to life by strong performances from actors who are relative unknowns stateside, but I suspect we’ll be seeing more from.

By the end of the first season, the audience (a mature audience, as there is strong language, violence, and nudity) is left with more questions than answers. Some mysteries are solved, while others take their place, with an unexpected twist and Season 1 cliffhanger that leaves you wanting more.

With only 6 episodes per season (too few, in my book), Glitch is the perfect Spooky Sunday binge watch. Both seasons are currently streaming on Netflix, with a third, hopefully, on the way.

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