Spectros is a Netflix series from Brazil. This is a fantasy-thriller series along the lines of 90s teen-drama, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. However, season 1 also features a mystery that slowly unravels through a series of flashbacks.
The cast is very diverse which is a good thing since the story focuses on both Brazilian witchcraft and Japanese Shinto. In case you didn’t know, Brazil has a large amount of Japanese population. Right from the episode 1 of the show, you get the clear feeling that this Netflix series was created by someone who loves fantasy, thriller and horror genres. Also, movie titles, as well as horror creators (writers and movie directors), are name-dropped to make us feel home. The plot revolves around three diverse teenagers – street-smart Pardal who lives in the slums, bully Carla who feels like she’s not good enough to live up to her Mum’s expectations and Mila, a girl struggling to look after her crazed Father whilst being bullied by Carla. These three characters are thrust into action thanks to the arrival of a strange porcelain doll. This doll, as it happens, holds the key to saving the world against a maniacal mad-man named the Necromancer who’s raising the dead for his own diabolical schemes.
The first half of the series tackles the kids and their journey to that very first scene in the police station featuring this doll, before building up to a final fight with the Necromancer, who’s revealed around the end of episode 4. Along the way the show peppers in some light characterisation and snapshots of romance but predominantly Spectros revolves around this supernatural element.
The story itself has a tendency to spiral out from one central point, skipping backwards and forwards through time. The problem with doing this, especially for the lengthy jumps backwards, is the distinct lack of dramatic tension. We know the kids will be fine because they’re in the station. We know they’ll eventually be caught by the police because the very first scene shows them arrested. These moments feel misplaced as the audiences would have preferred a more linear progression with the storyline.
The show doesn't feature popular or household names as actor, but they do all give very convincing and believable performances. The plot features quite a bit of social realism commentary. Don’t worry, if you dislike that sort of thing in your entertainment, then you can ignore it.
If you do like it, then it’s all very well placed and clearly just trying to show many sides of Brazil to an international Netflix audience. Douglas Petrie is the creator of this new Netflix series and he has also directed the seven episodes of season 1. Creating series in the fantasy and thriller genres is nothing new for Douglas Petrie. He wrote, directed and produced several episodes of the iconic Buffy the Vampire Slayer series.
Personally, I wasn’t crazy about this series. It just didn’t really get a hold on me (which Buffy always did). Then again, I’m sure Spectros will find a substantial fanbase on Netflix.