With The One, Netflix reworks the concept of soulmate through the prism of genetics. Between its ambitious concept and reality, can this science fiction succeed in making us fall in love?
Searching for a soul mate is a universal theme that has been used for centuries in all genres of art, from literature to painting, including films and series. This theme has clearly inspired Howard Overman, to whom we owe Misfits and now a new Netflix series: The One. And for good reason, The One’s plot is based on the promise of finding a soul mate through genetics.In this series with ambitious scenarios, the stakes are raised from the first minute. First, do genetic love matches really work? So, what is the impact on society? To these two questions, the answers seem a bit vague in the first episode, which doesn’t fail to pique the curiosity of the audience. In this genetic and social conflict, detective machinations arise, which add tension to the main plot.
Indeed, there seems to be a big secret hidden behind the beautiful image of The One company, and especially its CEO Rebecca Webb. Adapted from the eponymous novel by John Marrs, The One offers the promise of a thrilling series, blending science and love, with a slightly dystopian vibe in the Black Mirror genre, the series briefly reminiscent of the “Hang the DJ” episode from season four. Except that in reality, The One doesn’t have the desired effect. Whether it was the result of an inadequate adaptation or a script that didn’t live up to our expectations, the first season of The One showed some potential but was not sufficiently harnessed. The result: a mixed series.
The One also takes its inspiration from science fiction, thrillers or romantic series. However, being too eager to pay homage to this distinct genre, the series couldn’t find its way. If this jumble can sublimate a novel, in the case of the series it’s a little more complicated. It’s rough, not very original and ends up being a bit off the mark. The series doesn’t quite exploit its strong point, to let us discover the impact science has on love. One can be summed up in a love triangle between crime, romance and science. But, keep in mind, in every love triangle there is always something left behind. Unfortunately here is science. This is set aside in favor of the romantic and detective dimensions of the series, which are much more developed. Ultimately, The One has science fiction as its initial premise. If you’re expecting a production in the cult tone of Black Mirror, it’s missed. It lacks the little dystopian details that call into question the use of science or technology to its limits.
As for his direction, we’re pleased to see Howard Overman’s talent isn’t inferior to The One. First of all, he keeps the timeline dynamic thanks to flashbacks and going back and forth between stories of different characters. It’s therefore not linear, which prevents us from actually stalling for time. The story itself isn’t completely uninteresting, the tension is quite present in the plot itself, but the editing definitely reinforces this impression. Transitions are very well executed and often sublimated by musical accompaniment. It emphasizes every scene just right, whether it’s in a dramatic or busier situation.
Fortunately, the players saved the day quite a bit. Each in their own way, they are charming and convincing. Exploring their personal histories allows the series to gain intensity and also makes them more human, while The One tends to see them as walking DNA data.