I have always believed that creating a powerful and striking premise is not that difficult, but what is really complicated is knowing how to do something up to par with it. ‘Welcome to Eden’, the new Spanish series of Netflix it has a great starting point, but then shows an alarming inability to do anything worthwhile with it.
At first glance, ‘Welcome to Eden’ could seem like a kind of heiress to ‘Lost’, a series much imitated at the time -I still remember cases like ‘Flashforward’ or ‘The Event’-, with a touch of the influencer world and a bit of sects and dystopian society. There is something of all that, but what predominates is go around the same ideasalso doing it in a way that dangerously flirts with the ridiculous.
It is clear that the mystery around what happens on the island and what exactly is Eden is the main asset of this series created by Joaquin Gorriz and Guillermo Lopez. In this regard, I anticipate that you can expect a fairly slow plot evolution that relies too much on how effective cliffhangers can be to “force” us to continue watching episodes.
The problem with that bet is twofold. On the one hand, we soon become aware that hardly anything important is going to happen until the final stretch of the chapters, thus reducing the strength of everything that happens previously. There they play a lot with the unknown but without creating an atmosphere of suspense that traps the viewer, to the point of throwing their hands on plot solutions that make it hard to understand how they were approved by someone. Because the original idea behind those decisions may be adequate, but the execution is far from it.
The other is that the series forgets to give dramatic depth to the characters. The best stop comes out is Zoa (Amaia Aberasturi), but more in opposition to the rest than because the scripts really work on it, since everything related to his family is tiresome when the series pretends that it is that emotional handle that gives more entity to the whole.
Unfortunately, everything is even worse with the rest, reduced to mere puppets that adjust to the needs of the story at that time, also working very poorly on everything related to those who will end up showing another face. Everything can be seen coming to the leaguebut it is also that the first time we think that this or that is going to end up happening, we hope that it will not be so because of how lazy, absurd or unattractive the idea is to us.
nothing ever works
Not even the scenarios are especially stimulating, because from the outset the island does have a certain showy component that invites us to think that things could go further there. This is not the case, soon everything is reduced to the same locations -again, going around the same thing over and over again-, and attempts to give it more depth through the small revelations about that ecological dystopia that is Eden they don’t help the cause too much either.
All of this leads to ‘Welcome to Eden’ being a series that feels empty. Not long ago it was said of some films that I wish they had been series to take full advantage of the story they told. Just the opposite is the case here, as a much more direct approach would have been appreciated., but it is that even in its denouement the line of continuing to stretch the gum is chosen. Another thing is that we get to see how the story continues, because that will depend on its success.
Otherwise, the actors are not what stand out for better or for worse, but they are so limited by the material they play with that some end up being infected by the monotony that a series of these features cannot afford. It’s okay that there comes a point where the level of violence increases and that adds a certain amount of uncertainty, but by then you don’t really care whether the good guys or the bad guys win… or simply which side each one is on.
And in the end that ends up being his downfall, because something essential when moving forward with a series is that it entertains you. Everything else can fail, be ridiculous or not hold anywhere, but if it doesn’t even get you hooked there, you’re left with no reason to stay with it. And less now, that the television offer is so much that we simply do not give to see everything that is attractive to us a priori.
‘Welcome to Eden’ is not as bad as ‘Once upon a time… but not anymore’, but that one at least was disconcerting at all times due to the concatenation of incomprehensible decisions, while here they simply relied on the pull of the premise and they forgot to develop it in an interesting way. That having beautiful people in the cast is not enough.