With the prevalence of dating programs, a scenario not unlike the one envisioned in Netflix’s new thriller The One does not seem far away. A similar premise — that of DNA-based dating — was already the topic of AMC’s anthology series Soulmates, so this eight-part series written by Misfits founder Howard Overman already feels old hat. Unfortunately, it does very little to dispel those early beliefs, failing — nay, refusing — to really dig into its assumption or, for that matter, the interiority of that which could easily be a very compellingly telltale cause Rebecca Webb (Hannah Ware).
Webb is the CEO of a dating service that has taken randomness from this procedure. Now, there’s no getting-to-know-you period, only biological certainty. She’s also profoundly corrupt and self-serving, and contains quite intimate ties to her institution’s co-creator, its secrets, and also a body dredged up from the Thames. This rote detective plot quickly overrules any possible interesting examinations of this sci-fi premise, even with encouraging stories such as those of Hannah and Mark (Lois Chimimba and Eric Kofi-Abrefa) and Kate (Zoe Tapper), that are present to essentially graft a Soulmates-style relationship drama to the mystery.
With the major achievement of I Care A Lot, there’s obviously an appetite for a villainous girl-boss personality, but Ware doesn’t lean in the role in the exact same manner Rosamund Pike seemed born to perform, and the script seems mainly uninterested in rounding out some human contours or shooting her villainy into a more enjoyable and determined extreme. You would not need to end up on her hit list, but she’s not really interesting enough to spend much time annoying anyway.
Supporting performances are somewhat warmer and much more effective however, obviously, given less time and distance, and of course significance from the literary story. As ever, a second season sounds like the goal, but there is a sense here of this assumption being wasted on a thriller plot that shows all of its keys too soon and leaves you wondering what the purpose of it all was. Swipe right.