TV Series Review
Time flies, right? One day you’re in school, dealing with homework and first crushes and (ugh) parents, and the next you’re an adult yourself, wondering where all the time went.
Technically, we know where it went, of course. We’ve got photos and birthday cards and memories to tell us. But Sam and Bilal, Victor and Romane? They’re not so sure.
Time After Time
One chilly March evening in 2021, the four friends were down in their clubhouse/bunker, celebrating Bilal’s 14th birthday. They were dancing and laughing (as teens with their own party bunkers do), when suddenly the lights began to flicker.
“You should’ve paid the electric bill,” 13-year-old Victor tells big brother Sam.
And then, just seconds later, Victor’s gone. Poof! Romane is, too—and it’s just before she and Sam were about to share their very first smooch. And Bilal? Seems as though he’s been replaced by a very confused 30-year-old man.
Or so it would seem from Sam’s perspective. In another reality, Victor and Romane are the ones who are left, and it’s Sam and Bilal who’ve vanished.
Seems that time in this French mountain town—time that typically traipses in one steady direction—has decided to take its leave. People get older or younger or land in entirely new alternate realities. Creation’s many multiverses are becoming less stand-alone crackers and more like plates of leftover crumbs, meshing and molding and jumbling together.
Clearly, the friends must somehow find each other and work together to bring their disparate realities back to some normalcy.
Of course, one man’s preferred reality, may not be preferred by all.
The French Connection
Parallels, Disney+’s science fiction series, has taken its own trip—not through time, but space. It’s a French production, made by Daïmôn Films and Empreinte Digitale for Disney and which premiered worldwide March 23, 2022.
But while the action takes place in France and all the dialogue has been (for English-speaking audiences, at least) dubbed, Parallels still feels at home on the Mouse House’s streaming service.
While the main characters are in their teens (at least to begin with), they’re pretty good kids. Sure, young Victor can be a little disrespectful at times, and the teens try (unsuccessfully) to drink a little champagne for Bilal’s birthday. But for the most part, these kids respect their parents, work hard and don’t say anything much worse than “dang.” This is a show where a kiss between characters comes with a great deal of gravity. That puts Parallels in a different reality than most of CW’s tawdry teen shows. (And it’s in an entirely different multiverse from HBO’s Euphoria.)
But the show still carries a TV-14 rating for some of its episodes (others are rated TV-PG). While parents seem mostly loving, some are clearly flawed and make terrible mistakes. Characters that seem mostly innocent at 14 can turn jaded in their new timelines, lashing out in discomforting ways. And the show’s malleable timeline can make for some awkward romances as well. If two character of the same age kiss, that’s one thing. But when a 30-year-old man smooches a teen girl, that feels like quite another—even if they’re both, somewhere, the same age.
Parallels has enough problems to give parents a bit of pause before letting their kids watch. As the characters themselves might tell you, it’s nice to consider things for a bit of time. Because you never know where the time might go.