Shudder’s new original series The Dead Lands has its premiere on Thursday, January 23rd, 2020 and this is one you’ll want to sink your teeth into. I was lucky enough to check out the first three episodes and had me hooked by the end of episode one. The first three episodes are called: “Tell the Dead I’m Coming,” “The Sins of the Father,” and “The Kingdom at the Edge of the World.”
This series was directed by Peter Burger and Michael Hurst. It was written by Glenn Standring and stars Te Kohe Tuhaka and Darneen Christian.
Synopsis for The Dead Lands
A supernatural fantasy adventure series set in a mythical Aotearoa—New Zealand in a time before time. A dishonored warrior, Waka Nuku Rau dies, but his Ancestors in the Afterlife send him back to the world to find redemption and honor. There, in the world of the living, he is aided by Mehe, a determined young woman, and together they discover the world has been disrupted by forces not of the living. Someone, or something, is preventing the Dead from entering the Afterlife and now the Dead are thrown back into their decaying bodies to hunt the living.
I’m always looking for a new show to kill time on these cold winter nights and I definitely found one to help warm me up. The Dead Lands is perfection, or so it seems after watching the first three episodes. I love the unique storyline and Ma?ori mythic storytelling. Something I’ve never seen before and it is hauntingly beautiful. Sometimes it feels like an action story, other times it feels like a ghost story. The atmosphere always has a sense of dread with a hint of hope lingering.
Enhancing these storytelling elements is the captivating cinematography. Clear, crisp visuals and phenomenal special effects really bring everything together. I adore the set design along with the awesome wardrobe and makeup details.
Te Kohe Tuhaka delivers a killer performance as Waka Nuku Rau. He’s someone you can’t help but like despite undesirable characteristics. With his charismatic attitude, this character can’t help but grow on you. He provides a much-needed comic-relief at times, even if very brief. Reminds me a bit of Jason Momoa and his ability to deliver action at any given moment but also has that charming, soft side. Darneen Christian plays Mehe and is equally amazing. She is the complete opposite of Waka, but their chemistry is sensational. They feed off one another perfectly.
All three episodes were great, but “The Kingdom at the Edge of the World” was my favorite and is leaving me itching to see the next one. The character development truly shines at this point in the series. I love the interaction with the witches and everything about them: their style, wardrobe, and confidence. This episode felt like the perfect mix of fantasy and horror.
If you love blood, gore, action, and great storytelling, The Dead Lands is for you. I would say it has the potential to grow into a fan-favorite series such as other hit shows like Game of Thrones, Outlander, and Vikings. It’s dark, gritty, but also has hints of humor and great character arcs. There are 8 episodes total and each episode airs on Thursdays via Shudder. Enjoy and let us know what you think!