Unceremoniously, a new show was dumped onto Netflix called Residue that basically fell through the cracks. No promotion, no featuring, no word of mouth. Which is a real shame because you need this show in your life.
The city of London suffers a massive explosion on New Year’s Eve, and a few blocks are quarantined and wrapped in plastic as a shadowy government organization attempts to figure out what happened. Most of London evacuates, even though the government claims that the city is safe. Among the remaining population are a couple who are documenting the changing city, played by Game of Thrones actors Natalie Tena (Jennifer) and Iwan Rheon (Jonas).
What starts as some grade-A neon-drenched abandoned architecture porn eventually spirals into an infestation of ghost-like entities driving the population of London to brutal violence, all under the watchful eye of a paramilitary group that knows more than it’s letting on.
Weirdly, the season only runs three 45-minute episodes, which may explain why there was no major marketing push. Instead of an intro season, it’s basically an extended pilot that ends on a helluva cliffhanger. The short time we get to spend in Residue’s crushingly atmospheric London still feels rewarding, and the mystery and monsters are bewildering and complicated. There’s a delight to taking on post-apocalyptic settings and set-backs while corporate life keeps moving forward.
If you’re still on the fence, some people might be sold by the video game influences Residue wears proudly. The abandoned city is a fairly typical trope, but certain locations reek of Resident Evil. There’s an opera house scene straight out of Parasite Eve, and the military forces with big guns trying to take on spooks is a page from F.E.A.R.’s playbook. The ghosts enter our world through wall stains borrowed from Silent Hill 4 of all things, and the mechanic of keeping ghosts away using photography is the basis for the entire Fatal Frame franchise. None of this is to say that Residue lacks originality, but it’s also rewarding to watch horror television borrow from the best.
Word on the interwebs is that Netflix is considering expanding the show into a twelve episode follow-up season, but we’re going to need to get a lot more people to give Residue a spin first.