The Bastard Son & The Devil Itself, a British fantasy fantasy YA book series that was recently introduced to Netflix, is a bit like getting a new puppy after your last one was destroyed. You're fine with getting too attached, though.
This eight-episode ghost story about three teenage detectives who are running a spooky detective agency is quite straightforward to relate to. The cast is likable, the characters are relatable, and the setting — in which London is protected from a spectral attack — is well-conceived.
There are ongoing mysteries, as well as episodic encounters, and a developing Scooby Gang dynamic between its young leads. It has a touch of Harry Potter and a touch of Being Human, and families who enjoyed Wednesday together might enjoy it for a post-school and work Friday binge.
Joe Cornish (Attack the Block, The Kid Who Would Be King) directs the series about Jonathan Stroud's novels about Lockwood, Lucy, and George, a trio who slug against the tide by running their failed indie (or as Lockwood prefers, "rogue") ghost-hunting company in competition with corporate giant Fittes. It's a David and Goliath game: fitters have all of the resources, but Lockwood & Co. has their own shortcomings:
Lucy Carlyle is played by Ruby Stokes (who left a supporting role in Netflix's Bridgerton and you can absolutely see why) and is a natural listener. After a tragic childhood in her hometown, Lucy moves to London and joins forces with Anthony Lockwood, a gifted sword-fighter played by newcomer Cameron Chapman, and George (Ali Hadji-Heshmati), the agency's bookish researcher.
The ghosts – who roam around after dark fatally attacking the living with their touch – are scary but not too frightening for younger viewers, depending on parental tolerance for the odd swear word or bottle of beer.
Lucy is a warm, tough, and easygoing star as the scripts' emotional demands, and Hadji-Heshmati is adept at handling deadpan comic relief like a pro. It's a blend of energy that works, so much that it highlights some of the supporting adult roles, including Nigel Planer, Ben Crompton, Alice Lowe, Ivanno Jeremiah, and Morven Christie as the mysterious Penelope Fittes.
The music and special effects are all energetic and frequent, there is a gentle-touch romantic element that will not embarrass anyone in front of mum and dad, and even if the occasional moment of amusement falls flat, the whole thing has bags of British fantasy charm. This London is accompanied by Siouxsie, The Cure, Bauhaus, and all the big-haired, mohair jumpered legends.
There are still unsolved mysteries that will be revisited at the end of the series (there are five books total), and these eight episodes cover events from only the first two? And, most importantly, what caused the euphemistically titled "Problem" that forced supernaturally gifted children to clean up the mess?
Netflix, apparently now more than ever, needs to convince you that you want to hear from this trio and this YA fantasy world. Why not include Lockwood & Co at the top.
Lockwood & Co. is now available for viewing on Netflix.