Because I review a whole tv series rather than individual episodes, there is a chance of spoilers, so if you haven’t watched the whole series yet, stop reading now!
Ghosts will always be the scariest thing on television. I’d rather watch something involving a serial killer, or a demon, or even aliens than be scared by ghosts (particularly “little girl ghosts). It gives great opportunities to build tension, create fantastic atmosphere and really make people jump out of their skin. It takes a very clever writer to convey a ghost story effectively but when its done well, it can be fantastic.
Lightfields takes that ghost story and adds some great, unique elements that makes the series different but interesting. It’s primarily a mystery. The viewer is being asked to discover why the character of Lucy died and who, if anyone, is responsible. It’s not just a straight forward, ghost-centric mystery. It is a story told through three families staying at the same property, but at different moments in history.
This gives it a much fresher, much more involved and complex narrative than you may find with the usual ghost stories or mystery stories. It also gives some fantastic opportunities to lead the viewer down blind alleys, plant red herrings and spin a tale through its five episode run.
The three-story narrative can have its issues. There can be times when one family’s story is much more interesting, or moving closer to the mysteries revelation, than others and to be pulled back to another era and different characters can be frustrating. The three narrative strand can also feel slightly dragged out, which can be a problem with any mystery series. Often it feels like it could have been cut by at least one episode.
Aside from overextending the series slightly, the three stories are handled and interlinked brilliantly. The choice of characters and the casting to go with it is also done brilliantly. At least one character appears in all three strands of the mystery and this is cast and played perfectly. The writers also do a great job of separating the stories and making them unique enough to never feel like your re-treading old ground, in another time era.
The biggest success is the mystery itself though and the way it links with the supernatural, ghost element of the story. It has a great build-up and lots of great avenues and areas which you don’t expect. Although aspects of the final resolution feel slightly “easy” and aren’t quite as clear as it should have been, it is a satisfying conclusion. The scary element of the story also builds to a great climax and some of the ghost scenes in the later episodes are done very well and demonstrate how terrifying ghost stories can really be.
Overall, Lightfields is a solid mystery with a very interesting ghost story threaded through. It has some great acting, casting and demonstrates a very unique way of telling a story and keeping each episode fresh and interesting. It’s by no means a perfect watch but it is an example of how to put together a quality British drama.
Best Episode – Episode 5: Difficult to choose when each episode is so interlinked but the final episode is a great way to end and resolve the whole series.
Best performance – Dakota Blue Richards as Eve
Should there been another season? – There was already another series that had the same format called “Marshlands.” Another show with a similar format would work but not another season with these characters.
Season Rating – 3
(1 – Awful, 2 – Average, 3 – Good, 4 – Great, 5! – Must See)