Horror author Joe Hill is seeing his novel NOS4A2 adapted for the small screen by AMC, and the pilot episode alone is must-see television. Premiering at this year's SXSW Conference and Festivals, the first episode of the upcoming horror series had a packed house and seemingly impressed everyone in the audience. With the decline in viewership for The Walking Dead over the past couple years, AMC is undoubtedly looking for new hit shows to keep the network going strong, and they've certainly found something strong here with NOS4A2. Hopefully, for the sake of both the network and the show's future, its TV ratings will match the high quality of series when it makes it to air this summer.
On the series, Ashleigh Cummings stars as our heroine Vic McQueen, an aspiring art student with big dreams of leaving her podunk Massachusetts town. The teenager's ambitions draw mixed reactions from her mother (Virginia Kull) and father (Ebon Moss-Bachrach). Also helping to round out the cast is librarian Maggie Leigh (JJ Smith), whose own unique power allows her to spell out clues using Scrabble tiles. Things get interesting when Vic comes to discover she has a special talent for finding particular objects using something called the Shorter Way Bridge, which transports her to any given location to find what she's looking for. Unfortunately, the process weakens Vic the more she uses it, and it will be interesting to see how Vic's talents will ultimately be used to thwart the story's antagonist.
That brings us to the villain of the series, the dastardly Charlie Manx. Expertly portrayed by Star Trek star Zachary Quinto, the character has quickly become one of the creepiest antagonists in television. The soul-sucker is shown luring a child into his trademark Rolls-Royce Wraith with promises of holiday fun and festivities at a magical place called Christmasland. Given the performance and the fantastic FX that went into creating the character, Manx is a deeply disturbing antagonist and his scenes on the show make for some of the brightest spots for the pilot.
It should be noted that I've personally never read the original novel, so I went into the story blind. There's no way for me to know just how the show compares to the source material, which I know is highly revered by its readers. Still, even without prior knowledge of elements of the plot, I had no trouble following the pilot's compelling story and becoming attached to the characters. It's an interesting concept unlike your typical vampire or monster story, and the potential is there for it to become one of the best shows on television. Undoubtedly, it's the most entertaining programming I've seen come from AMC in years.
It's not just the premiere episode of NOS4A2 that captures lightning in a bottle. After having the opportunity to screen the follow-up episode, I am now absolutely hooked and completely invested in the series. The story is compelling and the acting is top notch, and it seems AMC has a new big hit on their hands. I definitely can't wait to see where things go from here, and I hope the rest of you will be watching with me when the show begins airing on the network beginning this summer. Just know you may not be able to see Christmas the same way again.