If nothing else, give credit to Clickbait for a perfectly fitting title. Like the genre of internet articles that are named after it, Netflix’s miniseries try to captivate audiences with the promise of intriguing revelations and heated controversies – only to deliver one sentence in the end. shallow things are nothing much.
Creators Tony Ayres and Christian White start with an interesting premise. Nick Brewer (Adrian Grenier), a seemingly nice and kind family man, disappears one morning on his way to work. Hours later, a mysterious video clip surfaced in which Nick admits, apparently being raped, to abusing women – and then reveals that he himself will be killed when the video reaches 5 million views.
Complex premise, dull execution.
Can Nick really be guilty for the crimes he confessed to? If it was him, was the punishment appropriate for the crime? If he isn’t, then who is framing him, and why? Can Nick’s family stop the video from reaching 5 million views? What does it say about the dark id of the Internet that some seem so eager to see Nick torn apart? How complicit are we all in a situation like this, one that requires the indifference or active participation of millions of total strangers?
Clickbait attempts to solve those questions, and many more that arise along the way, over eight 45-minute episodes, each focusing on a different individual involved in the case: the hot-tempered sister of Nick, Pia (Zoe Kazan); his devoted wife, Sophie (Betty Gabriel); Roshan (Phoenix Raei), an aspiring detective assigned to the case; Ben (Abraham Lim), journalist ruthlessly pursuing the story, etc. Theoretically, this structure allows for a more holistic view not only of the mystery and the people involved in it, but also of the culture. digitalization in which it participates.
But the show’s problem starts with the fact that, it’s doing this over eight 45-minute episodes. The final reveal of what’s really going on isn’t really that complicated or shocking; Clickbait simply decided to take six hours to solve a mystery that a feature film (or Black mirror episode) can end in a fraction of the time. After a few episodes of incremental revelations and obvious red spots, the temptation to just ignore the rest and look for spoilers on Twitter becomes overwhelming.
Meanwhile, Clickbait provide a precious few among the rich characters or world-building that justifies the long hours spent on other TV mysteries, like Big Little Lies or Mare of Easttown. Everyone in Clickbait there are secrets, but that’s not the same thing as personality or introspection. Few characters ever manage to get past the archetypes they started with, and some go awry in their iterations. (Kazan throws herself into Pia’s ragged despair, but I’m so fed up with “the whole damn Pia show,” as another character puts it.) The rare exception is Sophie, whose acting feat is more than that. write. Though her character’s lines are as generic as anyone else’s, Gabriel allows us into the intense emotions hidden beneath her fragile calm as she struggles to absorb each new twist. cruel in her husband’s ordeal.
However, this blandness could perhaps be justified if Clickbait there is at least something profound to be said on the subject of the internet, which is ostensibly of its core thematic concern. But here, too, it stumbles. This series draws on references to #MeToo, doxing, and catfishing for added relevance, but its exploration of those topics goes as deep as an entry from the Urban Dictionary. Choosing to avoid real companies (e.g. characters using “subports” instead of subreddits) is not an insurmountable challenge to its credibility in and of itself – but combining with ClickbaitThe arm’s long-term approach to the issues it wants to investigate, it just adds to the feeling that the series has no idea what it’s talking about.
It’s not all Clickbaitthe argument of is not valid. It To be it is true that laws governing the internet can be difficult to enforce across borders; that the Terms & Conditions we accidentally clicked on could give us a privacy nightmare; that the eager new friends we meet online may not be who they claim to be; that despite those pitfalls, the internet can be a useful tool for investigation or networking. But these points are not new. They have been made by countless other series and movies – everything from Black mirror arrive Circle – on much more complex and nuanced (and entertaining) levels than inside Clickbaitimagination ability.
What we’re left with, then, is a lot of nothing. Clickbait not wise enough to add to the already ongoing conversation around the dangers of the internet, nor brave enough to join the clutches of pearls. It’s not so bad as to be considered trash, but also not interesting enough to cuddle like a hidden gem. It’s just there, waiting for someone to find its title provocative enough to click. You should heed the warning built into that same header and keep scrolling.
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