Although this French series is based on a premise that has been explored in a plethora of silver screen works, it manages to weave an intriguing and poignant narrative with its story that never gets monotonous along the way
Last Updated: 07.00 AM, Mar 24, 2022
Samuel, Romane, Bilal and Victor are childhood friends on the cusp of entering highschool. On the occasion of Bilal’s birthday, the group decide to make their way to their familiar hangout, an abandoned bunker in the forest, to celebrate. But a sudden mysterious event turns their lives upside down, sending them into different parallel dimensions.
Time travel and parallel dimensions have always been a favourite subject for exploration in the sci-fi genre. So for a series or film based on the concept to really stand out, it has to be taken in a direction that does not get repetitive or cliched. Parallels manages to do exactly that with its engaging story that oscillates between poignant and thrilling as the show progresses.
The premise is simple enough: a group of best friends find themselves transported to different parallel dimensions. Unbeknownst to them their predicament was caused as a result of a scientific experiment conducted at a research organisation close by, the ERN. The experiment not only separates the group into different dimensions, but also makes one of them, Bilal, age into an adult. The teens’ efforts to find out what caused their predicament and try to reverse the effects make up the rest of the show’s story.
It’s a hard task to get someone without a sliver of interest in science fiction to get hooked onto a show in the genre, but Parallel’s storytelling does not box its story into a singular genre and also maintains a steady pace throughout. It tries to portray universal and relatable emotions in its narration, exploring themes that coming-of-age stories do in a way that tugs at viewers' heartstrings. We see the pain and grief our young protagonists have to endure when they are separated by their loved ones, plagued by uncertainty as to what actually happened to them. Guilt and regret are quick to follow, especially in the case of young Victor, who is labelled as a ‘problem child’ at the very beginning, and on whom the event starts to take the biggest toll.
The way the characters are fleshed out is nothing short of brilliant. There have been lots of times when young characters, especially teenagers, are written in two dimensional ways with singular traits being the basis of their entire personalities. But Parallel’s young protagonists are layered and nuanced; the kind of authenticity and depth in the way that they are written is refreshing to see. Each of them are given their own character arcs that are not reduced to ‘tropes’ in any way, and it is a joy to see their arcs unfold as the show progresses.
Splendid performances by the main cast also add to the appeal. As the show deals with time travel as well, we see the same characters at different ages, and the adult actors manage to authentically essay the naïveté needed, never going overboard with their performances.
The show’s cinematography is also worth a mention, as viewers are treated to some breathtaking shots of the snow-capped countryside of France.
Parallels is a sci-fi drama that ends up being much more than just a tale of adventure and mystery. The way it also explores some relatable and raw human emotions, and themes of growing up, adds a layer of poignancy to its thrilling story. Couple that with some great performances and cinematography and you get a series that will keep you hooked till the very end.
The first season of Parallels can be streamed on Disney+Hotstar.
Watch the trailer here: