Genre: Sci-Fi Mystery
Service: Netflix
Release Year: 2023
Watch: Netflix

I’m not sure if there’s such a thing as comic book logic. Sorry, graphic novel logic. But if there’s such a thing, Bodies — a series based on a 2015 DC graphic novel — suffers from it. What do I mean by this? Well, I suppose it’s this thing where the narrative sets up a high-concept, pretty complicated problem that helps build a world. We then move through that world with this high-concept problem at its core. Until we introduce the big bad and everything that seemed so carefully and intricately built kind of flies apart in the face of a confusing set of motivations and/or the focus on the reveal of that character. And the twisted and inconsistent logic of time travel, of course.

I’m honestly not certain why someone green-lit this thing. It’s overly complicated, incredibly dark and a really big mess narratively. Because who wouldn’t want a show that’s a mash-up of The Alienist and Minority Report. But neither, really. And, of course, some sort of vague nod to our favorite theme of our time: What happens if Elon Musk wins the world? Because futurist, tech cults and their leaders are a fascination for us in these times. And, frankly, I think that was the selling point here. Even if the original intention of the comic book — and even the series — wasn’t that. A time-travelling malignant cultist who leads with a saying, “Know you are loved,” that makes little-to-no sense in the show or in its utterance. It’s a mystery that is never solved as far as I’m concerned. And not the only one. Why is this dude, Mannix / Sir Julian Harker (Stephen Graham), trying to take over the world? What is his motivation? Beats me. That is, what they call in the TV business, an issue.

I’m not even certain how to describe this show. Other than to say there’s some time travel mumbo jumbo where a dead body shows up in the same London alley across four different timelines. Those years would be 1890, 1941, 2023 and 2053. I watched the entire show and I cannot for the life of me tell you why those years. And why that body ended up in any of them. Granted, that second fact they kind of hide the ball on until near the end. Which makes the whole mechanism of this show less a mystery than a point of confusion. In fact, the entirety of the series is a ball of gnarly what-tha-fuckness. I pretty much gave up at points to follow what was going on. Too many names. Too many accents that the many names and the things going on got buried in. Even when things did finally gel, I didn’t really care. Like I got it. But I’m still unclear why all this stuff is happening.

For a show this humorless, it’s odd how the whole thing wraps up. It’s the darkest timeline, yet we’re all hunky-dory once things reach their conclusion. A conclusion that considers the time loop and rejects it. Which seems like if you can easily break a loop, why not just do that to begin with? It’s hard to explain without spoiling things, but if the person with the least to gain by breaking the time loop does it via a really simple mechanism, it seems like a large group of motivated individuals with the means to break it could have figured out a way to do it way before they do. Or, rather, they don’t. I don’t know. And, frankly, I don’t much care. With the series being on Netflix, presumably at least a few folks have seen it. But I doubt without that level of exposure anybody would pay the thing any mind. Bodies. The title says it all.