Perfection is an impossibility. One that we silly animals that call ourselves human, are obsessed with. Perhaps it’s our search for the divine. Maybe it’s just our desperate hope we can fix everything in our lives by attaining that fabled level of growth… Either way, it’s a great starting place for a show called The Imperfects.
On paper, The Imperfects had the winning formula for success. It’s fast-paced, funny as hell, and features a cast of likable and wonderfully broken characters. Though the cast was mostly new to me, I did recognize the gorgeous and talented Italia Ricci who plays Dr. Sydney Burke, a determined scientist trying her best to cure a condition called A.G.D.S. or Acute Genetic Decay Syndrome.
It’s a disease that reduces life expectancy to 40 years or less. With the help of the unscrupulous Dr. Alex Sarkov, Burke has tried to cure the disease. This leads to the creation of the titular characters, the so-called Imperfects – Abbi, Juan, and Tilda.
See, Burke and Sarkov used synthetic stem cells to repair the damaged cells of those afflicted by AGDS. The problem was, Burke wasn’t willing to go far enough, and so Sarkov decided to tinker with the stem cells on his own. His secret goal? To strengthen the human race sufficiently to survive the cataclysm our own environmental destruction has wrought. Naturally, that meant this mad scientist turns three young adults into monsters.
This all might sound heavy, but I assure you that The Imperfects is a wonderfully funny show. A big reason for that is Sarkov himself, played by relative newcomer Rhys Nicholson. Not only does Nicholson bring a sarcastic energy to the role, but also, alternates between hilarious, if not horrible, justifications for their actions. Sarkov just wants to perfect his science and in so doing help the human race… No matter whether said race wants to be saved.
The core of the show are the aforementioned Imperfects themselves. They’ve been coping with AGDS for 7 years with the help of pills provided by Sarkov. Little do they know that the pills only treat the symptoms. They don’t cure the condition.
When he decides to switch their pills for placebos, all three start to realize what they’re capable of. Soft-spoken comic creator Juan starts blacking out and waking up in fields covered in blood. Hard rocker Tilda’s hearing is amped up to 11, and every sound physically hurts. And studious and brilliant Abbi starts finding her friends and strangers oddly hanging on her every word.
They quickly discover that they’re not entirely human anymore. Or as Dr. Burke puts it, they’re “technically human”. Juan is now a chupacabra, and transforms into the vicious beast without warning, losing time until he reverts back. Tilda has become a banshee. Besides sporting a new sonic scream, she has incredible hearing that she treats with headphones and copious amounts of alcohol. And Abbi, who only cares about getting into Oxford, is now a succubus. A whiff from her pheromones renders people dangerously attracted to her, willing to do anything she says.
Suffice to say, all three aren’t happy about their new reality, and start working with Burke to fix it. They also need Sarkov’s help, since he’s a child prodigy and way too smart for his own good, moral ambiguity aside. They just need to find him first. Unfortunately for them, there’s further complications. Sarkov has a few other pet projects roaming around. There’s also a rogue organization called Flux, and they want nothing more than to capture and study walking science experiments. Throw in some bio-hackers and ruthless armed agents, and you have a great mix for maximum drama.
One of my only small complaints about the show, other than a couple of weaker episodes towards the end, were how the show nominally takes place in Seattle. As someone that lives in the PNW, I don’t think we really got a fully fleshed representation of the area. There’s one coffee shop run by a character named Hannah, but it doesn’t have the vibe I’ve come to associate with a region so known for their coffee. The team also travels to Portland a couple times, and likewise I don’t feel the vibe of that city is well portrayed. Other than that, though, I had a really good time with the show.
Which brings us to the reason I’m writing this – The Imperfects only got the one season on Netflix. I realize that Netflix often has confusing reasoning for what gets renewed and what doesn’t. And sure, they don’t share their reasoning with the rest of us. But it’s nevertheless perplexing.
The Imperfects has the witty comedy of Wednesday, as well as reminding me fondly of another superhero show called Alphas. It had great, unexpected twists, set up a solid foundation for a season 2, and always kept me entertained. Sure, it had a couple weak episodes, but most shows do.
It would be one thing if Netflix cancelled a disappointing show. But this was honestly one of my favorite new shows, which I sadly only discovered after it was already cancelled. To add insult to injury, not only does the show feature rocking musical choices, but every episode flashes the fact it’s a Netflix series in bold, comic book letters across the beginning of each one.
This just takes me back to my problem with streaming in general. They can take some big swings on acquiring promising new shows, but they lack the fortitude to give every deserving show a chance to grow. Maybe in the future streaming services should let users vote on what shows get renewed for another season.
God knows they don’t seem to know what shows are worth keeping. That said, if you’re looking for 10 engaging episodes to pass some time with, be sure and watch The Imperfects. I think fellow comic book fans will find a lot to love.