Are we watching or not? Now and then (Apple TV)

New from Apple TV, Now and then offers us an effective thriller although without originality. So where do we watch or not this new series?

What is Now and then? In the early 2000s, when six young people were celebrating the end of their university studies, the evening ended in tragedy with the death of Alejandro in a car accident. Twenty years later, Pedro (José María Yazpik) has married Alejandro’s ex, Ana (Marina de Tavira), and he’s in the midst of an election campaign; Marcos (Manolo Cardona) works as a plastic surgeon in his father’s clinic; Dani (Soledad Villamil) is a documentary filmmaker; Sofia (Maribel Verdú) lives off petty trafficking. On the night of a high school reunion, everyone gets the same message: if they don’t pay $1 million each, their secret will be out. And when the situation degenerates, the inspectors in charge of the case in 2000, John Sullivan (Zeljko Ivanek) and Flora Neruda (Rosie Perez), reopen the investigation now qualified as manslaughter.

The essential

Co-produced by the unexpected duo formed by Bambu productions (Velvet, The Ladies of the Telephone) and the creator of Homeland Gideon Raff, Now and Then is the first Spanish series of Apple TV. Shot in Spanish, English and Spanglish, it takes us to Miami with a story spanning two distinct eras in parallel: now in 2022 and then in the year 2000. A group of former college friends reconnect when a blackmailer threatens to reveal what really happened on a fateful night that claimed the life of their friend Alejandro, twenty years earlier. Victim of blackmail and while a stubborn inspector takes over the investigation, everyone tries desperately to save their reputation and hide the truth.

WE love

With a starting postulate very similar to that of I Know What You Did Last Summer, Now and Then is not, however, a slasher but a detective thriller, a bit like Harlan Coben, between the attempts of the five protagonists to thwart the plans of the blackmailer and protect their respectable little life on the one hand, and on the other Inspector Perez’s investigation , convinced for twenty years that each of the five played a role in the death of Alejandro.

The series is structured with continuous time jumps between past and present, and the process is cleverly managed. The double temporality explores how the past reflects on the present and vice versa, and it is through this that we can understand the evolution of the five heroes, their motivations, their feelings of guilt, their current life and the relationships that exist between them in 2020. Similarly, the story takes on a choral form which gives the same place to each member of the group and makes it possible to understand the story through their successive points of view.

If the various intrigues are sufficiently well carried out so that we get caught up in the game, the main asset of Now and then is certainly its cast: from José María Meza Yazpik (Narcos Mexico) to Manolo Cardona (Who killed Sarah?) via Željko Ivanek (Madam Secretary, Damages), Alicia Sanz (The Cid), Rosie Perez (The flight attendant) or even Eduardo Noriega (Open your eyes, Ax) – so many familiar faces that we enjoy seeing again.

We love less

It has already been said: the formula of the group of characters confronted with the threat represented by the revelation of a secret from the past is a great classic. Which works…when it’s done right. That’s generally the case here, despite a few cliches, the stupid decisions some characters make, and an unfortunate tendency to over-explain certain plot elements.

But even though, Now and then fails to stand out from other series of the same genre. Investigations, murders, betrayals, liaisons, lies form the bulk of the twists, which are certainly well done but nevertheless typical and predictable. Not to mention one cliffhanger final that we have, there too, the impression of having seen dozens of times…

We see if… we want an entertaining and effective thriller, which delivers what it promises – nothing less but nothing more. And if you want to work on your Spanish.

We don’t see if… we are looking for an original thriller, which would succeed in deviating from a hackneyed starting point to build a striking criminal intrigue and which we will not forget as soon as the last episode is completed.

Now and Then
8 episodes of 50′
Available on Apple TV.

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