After an award winning, if inconsistent, first season, Australian ‘risen from the dead’ drama, Glitch, is back with the help of added-on Netflix funding. Building on solid foundations, the second season manages to shed some of the ‘Lost-esque’ dithering and sharpen itself to a deliciously entertaining focus.
Set in the fictional town of Yoorana, James Hayes, played by Patrick Bramall, is a local cop, trying to protect ‘The Risen’. The Risen may have clawed themselves out of their graves but these aren’t zombies we are talking about. Each of them have a fully healthy body, cured of any ills they may have suffered in life but yet lacking key memories.
The first season wasted a lot of its limited time dancing around the ‘how’, but now enough information is revealed straight off the bat that instead the balance is struck well between character development and overall series arc.
Local cop James Hayes is the solid, if a tad bland, glue that holds the cast together. His deceased wife is one of the Risen which, as he has remarried to fellow cop, Sarah, and is on the verge of fatherhood, led to some tiresome soap opera plotting – now thankfully dispensed with.
He spends so long dashing from A to B so that the script can keep chugging along that he gets a little lost in the mix. Luckily there are some meaty dramatic moments for him in which his ‘ordinary guy in an extra-ordinary problem’ angle does him well.
At first these characters are concerned with regaining their own memories which cover different dramatic angles. Fiery Kirstie is driven to track down her rapist murderer (covering sexual violence). Charlie, veteran of World War II, reveals survivor guilt and post war disease. And original town founder Paddy’s efforts to ensure his wealthy estate passes, via a hidden will, to his modern Aboriginal descendants gives an angle to Australia’s problematic past with ethnic cleansing. But winding through all this is that they are being hunted by the seemingly possessed of a few who have recently died. Despite James’ efforts in season 1, our Risen aren’t safe.
Some threads land better than others. It’s a shame given the camaraderie of the main cast that some offshoots couldn’t be brought into the fold. Paddy remains totally independent whilst the oldest of all the Risen, John – a convicted murderer who died in the 18th Century – takes ‘broody’ up to the point of ‘stone-faced’. Even as his past is revealed more it takes a genuinely brutal turn of events to get any sympathy his way.
However, as before, special praise must go to the whole look and feel of the show which is consistently great even when the narrative wobbles. Slow panning shots are undercut by a constant but shifting ominous thrum, meaning that we never really feel comfortable or safe at any moment.
The small town of Yoorana is a perfect gothic / Victorian setting. There may be Australian sunshine instead of British murk, but the creeping travelling shots and ‘watching’ camera angles keep the mental tension ratcheted up.
Glitch Season 2 is a slim and tense slab of unsettling drama. After an edge-of-the-seat finale, a few threads are left dangling for a potential season 3 although to be honest I think that the best of this concept is now spent and should be laid to rest as resurrecting more will likely lead to a state of decay.
Words by Michael Record