NO SPOILERS for The Rain Season 1.
The Rain is a Danish Netflix series set in a post-apocalyptic Scandinavia where a deadly virus carried by the rain wipes out nearly the entire population on contact. The story centres around siblings Simone (Alba August) and Rasmus (Lucas Lynggaard Tønnesen) who after six years emerge from the safety of their bunker to find what little is left of humanity. At a length of merely eight episodes, The Rain manages to tell a compelling story about a very well developed group of characters with plenty of heart and emotion better than another wildly popular post-apocalyptic series… ahem… The Walking Dead. It’s thrilling from beginning to end and because of the brilliantly tight storytelling you never know where it’s going to go and when it might start raining.
At the centre of this post-apocalyptic story is our main group of young characters whom you are along with on their journey of survival and for some, a journey of self-discovery. The group is made up of Simone, Rasmus, Beatrice (Angela Bundalovic), Martin (Mikkel Boe Følsgaard), Patrick (Lukas Løkken), Jean (Sonny Lindberg), and Lea (Jessica Dinnage) who over the course of this season are so well fleshed out you form an emotional connection to each one of them and invested in their journey. The character development, relationship building, and emotion here is phenomenally executed right down to the smaller interconnected moments that subtly tell a lot about each character’s personality. Throughout the season it takes time to focus on each individual character and really flesh them out so that you understand their history and past experiences and that allows you to fully understand exactly why they act the way they do. The series very intelligently weaves character backstories into the present day events so that they fit tightly within the context of the episode and aren’t just sporadically thrown in there.
There is a great deal of focus applied to making sure each of these characters feels real and unique and have some depth to them. The writers do an amazing job at giving every main character some degree of likeable and/or redeemable qualities that have you invested in their wellbeing (some more than others I must say). But what’s also great is that amongst all of the death, disease, and destruction that has encompassed the world they live in the show also takes time to allow these characters to just smile, have fun, and be young adults. It creates this coming-of-age angle that I absolutely loved, it’s not all dreary depressing content, there’s some optimism in the group and thus it creates these moments of levity where you can just watch teenagers be teenagers, and those moments are special. The performances from the young cast across the board are great and they bring a lot to the roles in the emotion behind their dialogue and actions that sells you on the believability of everything they’re going through.
The plot grips you early on with mystery and uncertainty and teases you with the possibility of answers. And as time goes on the plot begins to unravel and you gradually learn more and more about the situation at hand and what exactly is going on. It’s not the quickest moving pace but it progresses at just the right speed to allow you to take everything in and leave room for those more character-centric moments I mentioned above. There are some early moments where it struggles with finding its tempo but once it kicks into gear it’s an unpredictable thrill ride right to the last. I’m not going to compare this series to something like The Walking Dead because where they are both post-apocalyptic stories the content and pacing is insanely different, but the methods in which they explore characters and the outside world are a little similar. You’re not going to have the big shootout set-pieces here but there are conflicts on a smaller scale that are just as, if not more effective. The Rain I believe nails post-apocalyptic storytelling better than most other similar genre shows out there because of how concise, tight, and focused everything is. There isn’t 22 episodes to take time dedicating hours to building a character so it needs to be selective with what it focuses on and it hits all the right spots.
If you are a fan of the post-apocalyptic genre I say definitely check this one out on Netflix and don’t be discouraged by having to read subtitles as the entire series is naturally in Danish. Netflix has included an English dubbed version that you can watch but I tried it out for about 2 minutes and it was dreadful, I couldn’t do it. The best way to watch this series is in Danish with English subtitles. It’s the best post-apocalyptic series on TV right now and tells a gripping story with characters who are fleshed out incredibly well in such a short amount of time. I just hope Netflix renews The Rain for a second season and doesn’t give another quality series the boot as they did to Everything Sucks! last month.