I must admit that I was quite curious about ‘Now & Then’, due to its nature of first Spanish series from Apple TV+. Perhaps I had more doubts that this came from the hand of Ramón Campos and Gema R. Neira, who although they usually have a good level, are somewhat erratic in the development of their series.
Thus, we have an “I know what you did” thriller, in which some university friends reunite 20 years after a fateful night when someone threatens to reveal the truth about the death of one of the gang after an evening of partying.
With these wicks, the always high technical level that Apple is giving to the series and the difference that having been shot in Spanish and English means, we find ourselves with a quite effective and entertaining crime drama. However, ‘Now & Then’ ends up being at times so generic as you can anticipate a premise that we have already seen a thousand times.
the path of time
In this sense, the most interesting or remarkable thing is to see how the writers have worked so that the present reflects on the past. They care about showing that journey, delving into the reasons, the sins and successes of youth and how they have become what they are.
There are times when writing is somewhat lazy in these comparisons. Perhaps more obvious than lazy —they exercise from time to time the “we show the character of the past and present in a similar situation and compare”—. Other times it is more subtle in the story that wants to influence evolution, in the frustration of the dreams of youth in adult life.
Here it helps a lot strong direction by Gideon Raff, that weaves together these chiaroscuros, this journey from present to past and the contrasts of the characters with a realization without buts.
The artistic decision is also strikingperhaps because it is more unusual than it seems —how many series are limited to putting wigs on their characters for flashbacks—, of using other actors for the young versions of the protagonists. This accentuates precisely that ravages of time.
Although the decision is correct, not in all cases the counterparts fit quite well. This does not mean that the cast is bad, it is striking —Maribel Verdú, Marina de Tavira, Rosie Pérez, José María Yazpiketc.—and they also manage to maintain interest well even when the material is weak (the dialogues are a bit mediocre).
In general lines ‘Now & Then’ is a correct, entertaining and, unfortunately, as effective as it is forgettable thriller. At a time when this genre abounds, the Apple TV + series fails to have a captivating enough asset to stand out.