With the start of the Fall Season, there are many new and exciting series. Two Netflix series have recently captured my attention: Bodies and The Fall of the House of Usher. Both series are easy to binge, as they are both limited eight-episode miniseries that have great stories, very good acting, beautiful set design, and excellent direction.
Bodies is based on the graphic novel of the same name by Si Spencer. It is a science fiction thriller set in four time periods: 1890, 1941, 2023, and 2053. Across these different periods, there exists one common factor: the appearance out of thin air of the nude body of a dead man who has been shot. The body appears in London at the same location in each time period.
The death of the man is investigated in these different eras by a detective from the London police department. The series stars Amaka Okafor (The Sandman) as Detective Sergeant Shara Hasan, who is investigating the death in 2023; Kyle Soller (Andor) as Detective Inspector Alfred Hillinghead, investigating the death in 1890; and Jacob Fortune-Lloyd (Queen’s Gambit) as Detective Sergeant Karl Whiteman, who investigates the murder in 1941. Shira Haas (Unorthodox) stars as Detective Constable, who investigates the murder in 2053.
Tom Mothersdale (Treadstone) stars as Gabriel Defoe, the deceased person whose body exists in all of these different time periods. As the series unfolds, viewers learn why and how Defoe died, as well as the involvement of the 2053 commander and enigmatic leader, Elias Mannix (Stephen Graham).
Bodies is a thrilling, emotional, roller-coaster ride that keeps viewers guessing until the final powerful episode. It’s worth the time to watch.
The Fall of the House of Usher
The Fall of the House of Usher is director Mike Flanagan’s (Midnight Mass) modern retelling of the eponymous Edgar Allen Poe short story, just in time for Halloween. The mini-series chronicles the frightening tale of the cost of greed and those who pay the price. Over the course of the series, the episodes incorporate many works of Poe as viewers watch the destruction wrought on the Usher family.
The series boasts a large stellar cast with a story that spans several decades.
- Bruce Greenwood (Star Trek Into Darkness) and Zach Gilford (Midnight Mass) star as the older and younger Roderick Usher respectively. Roderick does not care about the cost of a deal with supernatural forces.
- Mary McDonnell (Battlestar Galactica) and Willa Fitzgerald (Reacher) respectively star as the older and younger Madeline Usher. Madeline is brilliant and ruthless in her ambition.
- Carla Gugino stars as Verna and her many iterations. Verna is a supernatural character whose very name invokes the poem “The Raven.”
- Carl Lumbly (The Falcon and the Winter Soldier) and Malcolm Goodwin (Reacher) play the older and younger Auguste Dupin respectively. Auguste has a complex relationship with the Usher family.
- Mark Hamill (Star Wars Universe) plays Arthur Pym, the unscrupulous Usher family fixer.
- Henry Thomas (ET) plays Frederick Usher, Roderick’s eldest child. Frederick’s siblings consider him to be a bit of a simpleton.
- Crystal Balint (Midnight Mass) plays Morella Usher, Frederick’s beautiful and loving wife.
- Kyleigh Curran (Secrets of Sulphur Springs) plays Lenore Usher, Roderick’s beloved granddaughter and Frederick’s daughter.
- Samantha Sloyan (Midnight Mass) plays Tamerlane Usher, Roderick’s other legitimate child after Frederick. Tamerlane is an influencer who is as ruthless as the other children.
- Matt Biedel (Altered Carbon) plays William “Bill” T. Wilson, Tamerlane’s fitness-loving husband.
- T’Nia Miller (The Peripheral) plays Victorine Lafourcade, the eldest of Roderick’s illegitimate children. Victorine is the scientist among the children who is engaged in unethical and possibly illegal research.
- Kate Siegel (Midnight Mass) plays Camille L’Espanaye, another illegitimate child of Roderick. Camille is the ruthless PR person for the family.
- Rahul Kohli (iZombie) plays Napoleon “Leo” Usher, another illegitimate child of Roderick who is a gaming influencer. Leo is a raging drug addict but still manages to function.
- Sauriyan Sapkota (The Midnight Club) plays Prospero “Perry” Usher, Roderick’s youngest illegitimate child, who wants to make a splash in the world of high-end clubs.
- Katie Parker (The Midnight Club) plays Annabel Lee, Roderick’s first wife. Annabel’s name comes from Poe’s beautiful and haunting poem, “Annabel Lee.”
- Ruth Codd (The Midnight Club) plays Rodericks’s new and much younger wife, who is a recovering drug addict but remains hooked on the best-selling drug produced by Fortunato Pharmaceuticals: Ligodone.
- Annabeth Gish (Midnight Mass) plays Eliza Usher, the very religious mother of Roderick and Madeline Usher, who had an affair with her employer that produced Roderick and Madeline.
- Robert Longstreet (Midnight Mass) plays William Longfellow, the CEO of Fortunato Pharmaceuticals, the real father of Roderick and Madeline
The Fall of the House of Usher is a frightening journey into the horror visited upon the children of Roderick Usher, who with his sister, made the quintessential deal with the devil for money. Usher agreed that the price would be paid by his offspring. He had no idea of the horrific deaths that they would suffer because of his deal with Verna but he did care when he made the deal.
The series is filled with countless references to the works of Edgar Allen Poe, from the names of the characters, to the title of the episodes, to even the manner of deaths of the characters. For example, Episode 101 is titled “A Midnight Dreary” which comes from the poem, “The Raven.”
Mike Flanagan has created a terrifying tale of greed and the consequences that can follow. This series, along with Midnight Mass and The Midnight Club, establish Mike Flanagan as a master of horror on the small screen. If you like horror, The Fall of the House of Usher is worth a watch.