In an unusual move from Netflix, Vortex, the French tv series, was actually released in France, Switzerland, Belgium and Luxembourg six months before the rest of us had the pleasure of seeing it on the streaming platform.
Created by Camille Couasse and Sarah Farkas, Vortex is a thrilling blend of drama, crime and sci-fi and stars Tomer Sisley and Camille Claris.
With just six episodes, the show has been a big hit, followed by solid IMBD and Rotten Tomatoes ratings. But what is Vortex all about, and is it worth watching?
What Is Vortex About?
It's 1998, and France is on the verge of winning the World Cup. Police officer Ludovic Béguin is happily married to Mélanie, and with their new baby, life is good.
That is until one morning, Melanie goes for her daily jog and sadly dies in a tragic accident.
Fast forward to 2025, and Ludo is a detective called to a crime scene on the same beach where his now-dead wife had her mysterious accident 27 years earlier.
Equipped with futuristic technology that can recreate a crime scene in virtual reality, Ludo discovers that, because of a glitch, a vortex has been created and he can communicate with his deceased wife.
For her, it's still 1998, so she has no idea she will die in less than a week. But now Ludo knows that she was actually murdered, so together, they must work to find her killer.
But as Melanie tries to change the outcome in 1998 to save her own life, the investigation changes the timeline in 2025, with unforeseen consequences.
So who killed Melanie? And can Ludo save his wife's life and keep everything else the same?
Vortex Official Trailer
Is Vortex Worth Watching?
As a mini-series, Vortex is excellent. Usually, time jump shows and movies are so over the top that there is little grounding in reality. However, Vortex is so well done that it never feels beyond the realms of possibility that new technology could change the past.
Thankfully, the show avoids all of the usual cliches and tropes, and the characters don't make stupid decisions that normally have us all shouting at the tv, making it a pleasure to watch.
The series grapples with complex themes like the price one is willing to pay for a perfect life and the real cost of love. This is all wrapped around significant character development, especially for the protagonist Ludo.
Ludo is now remarried to his wife Parvana with a son Sam, and while he absolutely wants to save Melanie, he also doesn't want to lose the life he has built in the years since her death. But for Melanie, it's 1998, and she's happily married, so to know that if she lives, she also has to leave her husband and daughter is a soul-crushing proposition.
And it's that juxtaposition that keeps you glued. How do they all get what they want? And how do they do it without ruining their lives?
If I had one criticism of Vortex, it is that the setting is not overtly futuristic, despite the sparse CGI elements being incorporated well into the narrative. 2025 isn't that far away, and we're nowhere near having that kind of technology at crime scenes. But it's also something that you can get passed pretty quickly as the story unfolds.
Vortex has an intriguing and engaging story, and while it may not revolutionise the time travel genre, it is well worth watching for those interested in a crime drama with sci-fi thriller elements.
Cast Of Vortex TV Series
Tomer Sisley as Ludovic Béguin, a detective who in 2025 stumbles on a way to communicate with his wife who died in 1998
Camille Claris as Mélanie Béguin, Ludo's wife
Zineb Triki as Parvana Béguin, Ludo's wife in 2025
Éric Pucheu as Nathan Leroy, Ludo's best friend and a detective on the case
Sandrine Salyères as Florence Leroy, Nathan's wife
Ludovik as Hector Delavigne, Melanie's best friend in 1998
Léo Chalié as Kim, a detective on the case
Anaïs Parello as Juliette Béguin, Ludo and Melanie's grown-up daughter
Juliette Plumecocq-Mech as Agathe Burtin, the Virtual Reality expert at the police station
Julien Floreancig as Nicolas Orsat
Evelyne El Garby Klaï as Yasmine Ben Salem
Marc Andréoni as Commissaire Etienne Le Goff