Nobody’s Review of Locke & Key

This review is just as much a lazy cop-out as this show was.

I don’t have the energy, attention span or motivation to write an in-character review for Locke & Key. When I watch something I’m planning to review, I go into it thinking about the themes and content, so I can decide how best to match it up to one of the characters and give them something funny or interesting to say about the show. I can’t do that with this show, because it would require Locke & Key to have themes or content.

Even shows that are terrible like The Witcher or shows I don’t personally enjoy like His Dark Materials give me mileage because they’ve got some sort of actual texture for me to comment on, a theme I can latch onto, something in the entire run of a show or movie that I can talk about, that is interesting or weird or bad enough to talk about from any perspective.

Locke & Key doesn’t have that. It’s got no texture, no substance, no themes. Barely any plot, no substantial or interesting characters, no vision, no skill in the writing, no effort. That last is my main problem with it. A lot of shows are bad. A lot of shows are stupid, and a lot of shows are badly written. This show is lazy. It takes every opportunity to cut a corner, to pull something out of its ass, to make something up as it goes along. I’m told it has really good source material. It doesn’t use it well, or at all.

Nothing is ever explained properly, nothing about how the keys work, what anyone’s motivation is, what the purpose of anything that’s happening is. The things that are explained are the obvious things. Just as one example, there’s an extremely predictable and obvious twist at the end of the show in which one of the minor characters turns out to have been evil all along. This character isn’t developed enough for you to care and isn’t interesting enough for it to matter, and then the reveal happens…for twenty straight minutes, laying it all out in painstaking detail, even after there’s literally no way you couldn’t have figured it all out.

The show treats its audience with absolutely no respect. It doesn’t presume that they’re engaged, that they’re interested or that they’re intelligent. I can understand those first two things, since it doesn’t seem like anyone involved in the production of the show is engaged or interested either. Normally here I’d praise the acting at least, and while it’s fine, with the three main characters especially doing a good job (with the exceptions of episodes 5 and 9, where everyone phones it in), but the actors in the supporting cast don’t seem to be trying that hard at all. So I guess that’s why they assume that the audience doesn’t give a shit about their show—it’s obvious that at all levels of production, the creators of Locke & Key didn’t give a shit about it either.

I can respect a show that tries hard and misses the mark. I can respect a show with a creative vision that I don’t agree with. I can respect a show that makes mistakes. I can’t respect a show that doesn’t even try. I don’t respect Locke & Key. It’s a bad show, not because it’s appalling, but just because it’s so aggressively, steadfastly mediocre and never tries to be more than that. A few episodes are bad (5, 9, 10), and the rest are fine. And they never try to be anything other than fine.

The problems with this piece of garbage are fixable. They’re so easily fixable. You can watch this show for five minutes and see how to fix it. And not just by doing what the original comic did. I haven’t read it and even I could see dozens of ways it could just be better. It’s a show full of fixable problems and nobody at any point tried to fix any of them.

We have to stop settling for shit like this. We have to stop applauding something that never tries to be more than okay. I get that I probably sound unbearably pretentious writing this, but for fuck’s sake, we can expect more out of our entertainment. We can and should expect more than for it to just be fine. We should forgive media that ends up being bad. It’s the danger of trying to do something interesting. But we have to stop forgiving media that aims for ‘meh’ and hits the mark full-on.

Don’t watch Locke & Key. It’s not worth your time and it doesn’t want to be. You’re too good for this.

4 thoughts on “Nobody’s Review of Locke & Key

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s