“The truth is out there” became one of the most iconic slogans from the 90s after the famous poster made its appearance in the X-Files. The series quickly became a huge hit that built its own mythology and gave us some of the most iconic characters on TV. It also basically created an entire generation of people interested in conspiracy theories, cryptozoology, and, of course, aliens. Glitch is a new Netflix South Korean series that brings this subject to the forefront of its premise and also tries to give it meaningful justification behind it. Let’s review it.
Glitch is a series developed by Netflix and directed by Roh Deok and written by Gin Han-sai. The series stars Jeon Yeo-been, and Nana in the main roles. The series tells the story of a young woman who has been following the flow of life. She graduated, found a boyfriend, got a job, and now she is moving in with her boyfriend and probably will get married as well. She has done exactly as she was supposed to, but it is clear she is not feeling anything about her life. When her boyfriend disappears, life will throw her on a journey that will change her forever.
Glitch is a sort of existentialist sci-fi show, in the best possible ways. The series mixes a very interesting story about UFOs, conspiracy theories, and the people who follow them, with a good dose of introspection and psychology. The two subjects are not particularly new to each other. But some of the best science fiction stories have been the ones that not only talk about the external change humanity has been dealing with thanks to new technologies, but also the changes that go on inside the mind.
Jeon Yeo-been plays the character of Hong Ji-hyo, and she is, for all intents and purposes, the reflection of a new generation, one that doesn’t really know what to do. A generation that is definitely not in line with the parameters society deemed acceptable centuries ago. A generation that is asking for change inside a system that will try to break them and mold them to its benefit. Ji-hyo is smart and beautiful, but she is lifeless because she hasn’t had the opportunity to find meaning in living.
It all might sound very serious, but in fact, the series tackles these subjects with a lot of humor. Even the most serious of South Korean dramas know that humor is an intrinsic part of any project that wants to appeal to the masses. And so Ji-hyo and her adventures are all filled with this very lighthearted tone, even in the darkest plot moments. What is absolutely incredible is that this approach doesn’t undermine the most serious themes that the series is trying to develop.
Asian directors are definitely experts in managing these very extreme tones. The Yakuza series has managed to do it constantly, and the stories never fail to have the necessary impact. Drama can be created even when you are laughing. It all depends on the quality of the writing and the acting. Which is not a problem for Glitch. Every single actor is pulling their weight, and Yeo-been and Nana quickly become people you can root for even when their life experiences don’t come close to yours.
The series is very well-directed, and it makes use of digital effects in a very consistent manner. This is not a series with a huge budget, but the production values are in there and the cinematography is also doing a lot in creating the atmosphere and framing the scenes in the best way possible. Again, you will not find production quality on the level of something like Squid Game, but seeing a little alien going around as our protagonist freaks out is quite entertaining, and it is very well realized.
If there is something that might hurt the series, it’s that sometimes the plot progression feels halted. At many points during the show, and especially in the middle of the season, you can feel as if the characters are running around in circles. Towards the end, you can feel that this story might have been 3 or even 4 episodes shorter, and it would have benefited the final result. Because it would have been a more concrete story, without having to sacrifice character development or plot progression.
This last subject has been a common issue among TV series from almost every country. Sometimes the stories get stretched out too much, and then the pacing becomes too slow. You don’t even have to be a film expert to feel that things could be moving along a lot more quickly. Sadly, Glitch also falls into this territory. However, outside of that, the final result is a story that has meaning and never forgets to be entertaining at the same time.
Glitch might not be the next Squid Game, but it is a very well-made show, with great actors, great writing, and very solid production values. The pacing hurts the series a lot, especially in the middle of the season. However, if you manage to pull through, the journey of our main characters is one that is easy to enjoy and might leave you with a couple of life lessons on your lap on the way out.