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  • Writer's picturePaul Gainey

From

If you’re of the mind that we’re living through uniquely hellish times, you may find something strangely relatable about "From", a show that is in no small part about living through uniquely hellish times.


In the John Griffin-created drama, the horrors are very literal and probably supernatural: Its characters are unwilling citizens of a town they physically cannot leave, which is besieged by bloodthirsty monsters night after night.


But the general feeling of exhaustion and desperation that haunts its characters might be familiar to those dealing with more down-to-earth struggles, as might their conflicting views about how to prepare for a future salvation that may never come. If, that is, you’re able to first get past the slowness at which all of these ideas unfold, and the unevenness of the characters and dialogue engaging with them.


“From” opens on an unnamed small town that looks ordinary enough at first glance, if a tad old-fashioned. As dusk falls, pedestrians hurry home past faded buildings and overgrown yards, greeting Sheriff Boyd (Harold Perrineau) while he walks the streets ringing his bell.


But it becomes obvious something is very amiss when, before the credits even roll on the first episode, a little girl and her mother are attacked by a monster coming through her bedroom window. The full extent of the carnage won’t be apparent ’til the next morning, when the bereaved father arrives home to see his family’s bodies ripped open and hollowed of their organs, blood streaking the walls almost to the ceiling. From does not skimp when it comes to gore.


Meanwhile, the Matthews family — mom Tabitha (Catalina Sandino Moreno), dad Jim (Eion Bailey), teenage daughter Jessica (Hannah Cheramy) and young son Ethan (Simon Webster) — are learning about the town’s other horrifying quirk the hard way. Having stumbled upon the town while lost during a road trip, they discover that no matter how carefully they follow Boyd’s directions to the highway, the road only circles them back to the town again — as Boyd knew it would. It’s the same experience he and everyone else in the town has had at some point, because anyone unlucky enough to chance upon it is stuck there indefinitely.


Who or what the monsters are, where they came from, why these people, whether they might find a way back out again: These are the mysteries driving “From” forward, and the series takes its time looking for the answers.


Like its spiritual forerunner Lost — with whom it shares a star (Perrineau), two executive producers (Jack Bender and Jeff Pinkner), “From” appears to be playing a long game. Every new answer seems to yield only more questions, the eventual answers to which will surely yield more questions still. A fourth episode flashback to the bloody backstory of the town’s first and oldest resident, the vaguely unsettling Victor (Scott McCord), strikes an ideal balance between cryptic and clarifying, at least if the idea is to spin out this story for seasons to come.




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