Tuesday 4 December 2018

TV Series Review: THE PURGE (Season 1)

The Purge TV Series 2018

As anyone who follows my blog will know, I'm a huge fan of The Purge franchise. When I heard that a Purge TV series was being made, I was really excited because I knew that the concept would lend itself well to that form of media. I was also impressed at how quickly it came out. The last movie, The First Purge (read my review here) was only released a couple of months before the TV series aired, capitalising nicely on the Purge fever that had been recently generated.

The Purge TV series concentrates on a number of different characters and their plans for the night's festivities. It's effectively a number of short stories that entwine together towards the end of the season. The main characters are all well developed, with plenty of back-stories to show the viewer why they're doing what they're doing, or why they're being targeted.


I thought the season was a massive success. It sits perfectly alongside the movies, and develops the Purge Universe in novel ways, exploring more depraved manners in which people choose to celebrate and 'purge'. I liked the 'Gauntlet' live TV show, which was like a cheap and nasty take on The Running Man. I also really enjoyed The Carnival of Flesh, where wealthy people bought victims at auction and could execute them in fantasy ways, mostly based on the horrors of human history such as medieval torture, firing squad, and a plethora of other screwed up methods. The fact that people really did these things to each other was a stark reminder that, although The Purge is fantasy, there is a genuine possibility that something like it could actually happen.

I was impressed by how the show touched on other relevant topics such as domestic violence and rape culture. The movies concentrated more on issues like racism and poverty, but the TV show delved into some very dark territories that must have been even closer to home for many viewers, particularly as they don't all involve murder. For example, we see men using The Purge as a time to beat and abuse their wives. As a direct result, we are introduced to the badass Matron Saints who drive around on Purge Night answering distress calls from women under attack. It's a disturbing reminder of how things might actually be if such a situation was real. There is also a cult whose members offer themselves as sacrifices, as they believe they are helping people to release their pain and anger. This kind of social commentary from the writers is uncomfortably relevant, and their 'finger on the pulse' delivery of these dystopian nightmare scenarios makes for the ideal Horror series of 2018.

The Purge is extremely addictive. It's fast paced and loaded with cliff hangers, making it one of those shows that you feel compelled to binge-watch. Admittedly, there are some annoying characters such as Penny, who seems to be regularly kidnapped, trapped, or finds herself in some kind of peril every five seconds. I lost count of the times her brother had to rescue her. Her brother's character borderlined on being an over-the-top 80's action hero in the vein of Rambo and Snake Plissken. He even gets shot in the arm with a crossbow bolt, but soon carries on like nothing's happened, fighting bad guys with both arms, driving cars, firing guns etc. It's all great entertainment! In fairness, there are some fantastic characters and scenarios brought in throughout the show making it absolutely essential viewing for fans of the movies.

What's also really cool is that this could technically go on forever. Each season could have a completely different set of characters with their own circumstances and intentions on Purge Night. If Blumhouse can keep the quality consistent, there's still a lot of miles in this bona fide classic, and I'm very much looking forward to the next instalment.


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