The Rain‘s first season is now streaming on Netflix.
By Greg Wheeler
Danish post apocalyptic thriller The Rain is a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand the premise is intriguing, the world hostile and well designed armed with a quick pace to prevent the series falling into a monotonous slog through its action packed eight episodes. Unfortunately, The Rain’s tonally confused narrative and baffling character logic make this a series that feels more lighthearted and family-orientated than it perhaps should be given the subject matter. The ambiguous ending leaves many plot threads unanswered too which could prove particularly damaging too given polarising reception this series is likely to receive.
The story begins at breakneck speed. Siblings Rasmus (Lucas Lynggaard Tønnesen) and Simone (Alba August) are ordinary high school students that find their world turned upside down when their father snatches them up from school and proclaims there’s a deadly virus lurking in the clouds that will wipe out vast swathes of the population when it rains. Taking refuge in an underground bunker and left alone for 6 years, the children (now teenagers) decide to venture out into the new post apocalyptic world to try to track down their Father. Along the way they become entangled with a ragtag group of survivors who demand they show them where there’s more food. What follows is a journey across the lush, empty landscape of Denmark. The pilot episode is a little rough around the edges and the fast pace coupled with questionable character decisions do nothing to help the first impressions of this show.
As the series progresses the serialised plot moves into a more episodic format with each individual episode showing flashbacks of the various characters while encountering a different challenge and continuing the overarching story of the siblings tracking down their father. The story does feel overly familiar and for anyone who’s played Playstation 3’s smash hit The Last Of Us, key plot points feel ripped straight from the game, especially late on as the story builds toward a climactic showdown. Unfortunately for The Rain, the premise is the only original idea here as most of the plot points feel recycled and overly predictable. The open ending only serves to damage the overall appeal of the show, especially in such a clustered genre like post apocalyptic fiction.
The awkward use of music doesn’t help matters either, juxtaposing with the overall tone of the show. The vocal-heavy pop tracks feel completely out-of-place here next to a plot rife with uneasy tension. This isn’t an isolated incident either; the final couple of minutes of each episode are used as a montage to show various character reactions to dramatic events that have occurred but it all feels unusually superficial, undermined by the questionable choice of music.
Armed with a surprisingly original concept in an otherwise crowded genre, stories like this live or die by how memorable the characters are and it’s here that The Rain really falters. The motivation and logic for some of the characters here is truly baffling, even from a teenager’s perspective. It could be argued that because of the children’s naivety some of this can be forgiven but even late on, when the teens have had a chance to adjust to this new hostile world, the incredulous decisions come thick and fast and it really takes away from the good work done to build up this world. Thankfully, the acting itself is pretty good all round although it’s highly recommended to watch this in its native tongue rather than English as the dubbing is truly woeful. Arguably, it’s one of the worst dubs of any TV show and some of the lines are delivered with such apathy and nonchalance it’s surprising it was even allowed to be done in such a way.
The Rain’s concept and world building are generally very good although amusingly for a country that has over 170 days of rainfall, there’s a surprising lack of rain throughout the series. Plagued by questionable character logic, an appalling English dub and really strange music choices, The Rain is a flawed, overly familiar post apocalyptic show. There’s certainly enjoyment to be had here and the characters are generally quite interesting but the open ending and lack of explanation for key plot points give the impression this has been built with the intention of multiple seasons and long-term sustainability. Whether this will even be green-lit for a second run is anyone’s guess but despite a strong premise, The Rain feels like a missed opportunity and disappointingly average given its unique concept.
I give The Rain a D+.