By Madalyn Watson | Print Managing Editor
Netflix recommended their new original mini-series “The I-Land” to me several days in a row and I tried to ignore it at first.
The real question is how I managed to make it through all seven episodes before looking for something new to watch. All I know is that I wish I hadn’t.
“The I-Land” begins with 10 people waking up on the sandy coast of a scenic island. All of them, wearing identical outfits, find an object in the sand next to them and have no memories of who they are or how they made it to the island.
The main protagonist, who finds out her name is Chase (played by “Under the Dome” Natalie Martinez) from a tag on the back of her shirt, immediately develops a tumultuous relationship with another castaway, KC (played by “Blue Crush” Kate Bosworth), who pulls a knife on her as soon as they meet.
KC and Chase meet the eight others, who all work together to find food, water, shelter and the meaning of their situation. As Chase attempts to solve the mysteries that put them on the island, the others ignore their responsibilities.
The plot starts to veer away from the expected when they all decide to go swimming when they have no clue where they are or who they are. One of the castaways is attacked by a shark, one (Brody, played by “I am Number Four” Alex Pettyfer) attempts to sexually assault another and a sign is discovered ordering them to “find your way back.”
The only scene that stood out to me within the first few episodes follows Chase as she leaves the rest of the group and discovers an orange raft in the ocean. Just before she swims out to the raft, she cuts her foot but still chooses to swim even after the earlier shark sighting (Why is she so stupid?).
After out-swimming the shark, she discovers two boxes: one unlocked, containing medicine and the other stayed locked. The best part is that she finds the key in a broken shell and somehow guesses the numbers for the combination.
Although entirely improbable and unrealistic, this was one of the only scenes that piqued my interest and really motivated me to continue watching. It felt like I was watching my little cousin play a video game — specifically, Fortnite came to mind. Unfortunately, that’s not where the plot ended up going.
Through a few hints and special effects, audience members can deduce there’s something off with the island fairly early on, possibly something based on a man-made reality.
There’s something wrong with the island, but the characters’ lack of personality and lack of empathy for each other makes it so the audience just doesn’t care. All of the characters treat each other if they aren’t even human; one of the themes is the animalistic side of human beings, but it fails miserably.
Brody is by far the worst. He sexually assaults two women within the first two episodes and is constantly wanting the group to come together and have a ‘pow-wow.’ Like seriously, this is his whole character.
Throughout their struggles, Chase begins to see flashbacks of her raising a gun up to an older woman. The hazy memory joins the others as they begin to potentially remember their own pasts.
Before I continue on about the show and possibly spoil it, I’ll stop right here to give you my rating. Although Rotten Tomatoes had initially given it 0% (it somehow rose to 8%) and several people have described it as the worst show ever and a complete and total mistake on Netflix’s part, I’ll give “The I-Land” one out of 10. Not zero, because I somehow watched it all the way through and found myself rooting for Chase for a few moments.
There is a lot to unpack — the television show gives almost as little explanation as myself. The writers seem to have packed every deep-sounding concept and fear about the world into one plot. All of the characters’ backstories are shallow and purely there for shock factor. Their flashbacks are unnecessarily disturbing and possibly triggering to their audience members.
“The I-Land” is a rip-off of “Lost” and an unnecessary interpretation of hot topics and social issues of today. I barely even touched on all the fake-deep points the writers tried to make, but you get the picture.
My rating: 1/10