It took me less than five minutes to like the family that is Fred Allen (J.C. MacKenzie), Deloris Allen (Tamara Taylor), Vivian “Viv” Allen (Aurora Burghart), and Geoff Allen (Gabriel Darku). I am not entirely sure what I think of Maggie Allen (Wendy Crewson). Maggie’s attitude towards her son is abominable. This isn’t a character one should trust.
Based on a comic series co-written by Steve Niles and Damien Worm, October Faction is one of the latest series to hit Netflix. The series, like the source material, revolves around the Allen family and their hometown. This town, not to mention the family itself, has some seriously dark secrets.
Both Fred and Deloris are monster hunters. They work for a secret society known as the Presidio. The same was true of Samuel Allen. Samuel, Fred’s late father, was a serious a**h*le to his son when he was younger. He didn’t feel Deloris was good enough for his son.
The opening episode is filled with numerous flashbacks. These flashbacks give us significant insight into the lead character and his family history. Seth Allen (Donald MacLean Jr.), Fred’s older brother, worked for Presidio. Fred always blamed himself for his brother’s death.
Sandra St. Claire (Jennifer Baxter), an attorney, attended the same high school when both Fred and Deloris were students there. This is the first of many characters I’ like to see become a midnight snack for local vampires. That’s right. We have vampires. Sandra isn’t the only character I’d like to see fed upon. There is something about the people in this town that turns my stomach.
Deloris, even though she was the only African American attendee at the educational establishment, notes that Sandra doesn’t remember her from their school days. Sandra was probably too involved in her high school clique to notice anyone else existed. It’s here that we learn that Samuel has left the entire estate to his son Fred. That puts a pin in Maggie’s bubble because she wants the house.
Whilst the story has a few rocky moments, the same can’t be said of either the acting or the well-written teleplays. MacKenzie, having worked on such television productions as Murder One, Dark Angel, The Shield, Hemlock Grove, and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, has been part of the fabric that is the entertainment industry since the mid-1980s.
The actor personifies the character with a deeply cynical tone. Fed’s tone, something not everyone will appreciate, is one of the many things I like about the character. Whilst Fred is apparently in his 50’s, given how much of the world he’s seen and experienced, his approach to life suggests a worldview typically associated with older people. Monster hunting has jaded his worldview.
Taylor, best known for playing Camille Saroyan on Bones, is perfect as Fred’s wife Deloris. It’s hard to believe that Deloris and Fred could have been at high school at the same time. They were. MacKenzie and Taylor, with completely different takes on their respective characterisations, complement each other perfectly. Both talents, as demonstrated in the scene where Fred refers to his hometown as “ass-kissing f*cktards,” show their ability to play off each other. Did that line make you laugh? I almost fell off my chair.
The chemistry between the lead characters makes me think of shows such as Dawson’s Creek, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Riverdale, and possibly the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. There are characters in October Faction which almost everyone can relate to on a personal level.
Burghart and Darku, as Viv Allen and Geoff Allen, respectively, do a good job playing twins. Viv and Geoff, both able to speak multiple languages fluently, don’t fit the local Barrington-on-Hudson high school. Their intelligence level is off-the-chart. The student body is extremely clique orientated. Is being part of a clique a thing in real American schools or does it only exist in film and television productions?
Speaking of high school, whilst I know it as presentation day, American schools have this thing called “show and tell.” The first season, spanning ten episodes, quintessentially characterises positive aspects of showing a well-crafted narrative rather than simply telling it to us. As each episode unfolds, we see deeper and deeper into the secrets that make the Allen family so captivating. Each episode takes us deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole.
Whilst I understand that this isn’t a show everyone will want to watch, considering episodes run approximately 42 minutes, it wouldn’t hurt anyone to give it a chance.