Kiss Me First is a new TV series currently available on Netflix. The show is based on a novel by Lottie Moggach and has a total of 6 episodes. Kiss Me First stars Tallulah Haddon, Simona Brown, Matthew Beard, Freddie Stewart, Matthew Aubrey, Haruka Abe and Misha Butler.
When the first trailers for this show were released, I was initially quite interested in it. Having recently enjoyed Ready Player One in the cinema earlier this year, this show looked to have a similar concept and I wanted something similar, a VR story with CGI characters.
Kiss Me First is essentially about a group of young people who use VR headsets to go into the virtual world where they spend a lot of time playing, socialising and exploring. That’s about all that’s similar to Ready Player One though, Kiss Me First has much darker themes and focuses on issues in the online world such as the danger of strangers, depression, death, murder and a lot of teenage related issues. All in all, Kiss Me First is a rather dark viewing experience.
When watching I’d say the first 3 episodes of the show, I found it all quite intriguing. The CGI for the virtual world is well done and I liked the look of all the animated characters. But unfortunately, the show isn’t really about the virtual world and while it is something the characters get up to, much of the latter side of the series actually just takes place in the real world with the actual actors. While the actors are all good enough, I felt what made the show special and different was the virtual world scenes and the more it spent away from that aspect, the more if felt like watching a low budget murder mystery show with a bunch of teenage characters.
The strength of the show is in the early episodes. The character of Leila is an interesting one and it was nice getting to know her as the six episodes went by. She’s actually quite a troubled individual and is hurting after the loss of her mother. She’s not the most social person, but she enjoys gaming. Unfortunately though, in a period where she’s having a hard time she meets some dodgy online people who get involved in her real life and bring many dangers with them.
Through the online world Leila meets another strong character, Tess, who becomes the new best friend of Leila and the two bond as the episodes progress. The friendship is an interesting exploration about possibly a good thing that can come from online gaming. It was one of the better things in the show’s six episodes and maybe could have been built on even more.
It’s really a very dark series though and the villain of the show, Adrian, is particularly unlikable. This is the type of person who preys on people online and does very bad things to those who get close to him in the virtual world. Towards the later part of the show, things do get a little crazy. I’m not sure what made the creators go for such a dark tone, but I’m glad I only had to watch 6 episodes of this because it certainly was a draining 6 hours and one of the most gloomy shows I watched so far in 2018.
Overall the show is worth taking a look at if you’re curious about what the VR world or are possibly a fan of the book. The strangest thing about the show I found when I did a bit of research was that actually the VR world we see in the show wasn’t even in the book at all, there’s an article which Digital Spy wrote that takes a look at the differences between the book and the series right here. So for fans of the book I’m not sure what they’ll get out of this show, having not read the book myself I wouldn’t know but it’s worth pointing out. The actors all do a good enough job and I enjoyed the performances from both Tallulah Haddon (Leila) and Simona Brown (Tess). The first half of the show is quite good, but unfortunately the themes are so dark and gloomy that when the second half of the six episodes comes around it’s a tough one to want to keep watching and binge in one six hour session.