2021 has been quite the year when it comes to TV shows. There are so many good shows to list when one takes a glance across what TV and streaming services have to offer, some were straight-up viral sensations like Squid Game, while others had fans guessing endlessly about plot points and in world connections or easter eggs (Wanda Vision I see you, it’s all connected).
By a large distance, the one show which stands out for a whole lot of reasons happens to be derived from the most unlikely source. Granted, Castlevania has for 3 seasons delivered an impressive spectacle in terms of visuals, action, character development and engrossing story arcs, and I am forever going to hold that show in the highest regard. What I never bargained for was a far better spectacle from another IP based on a popular video game.
As a non-video game player, the main interest I had in video games stemmed from their cinematic videos, IPs such as Halo and Apex Legends were the more familiar videos I casually would stumble across. In various conversations, I would listen to passively, people would tend to mention League of Legends as a popular PC game but I thought nothing of it, that is until the first season fo Arcane made its debut on Netflix.
There are so many ways I want to describe this first season, but the first thing which easily comes to mind is ‘beautiful’. At the core of the first season are these two sisters who encounter terrible loss as children, and as the story moves on you see the both of them take diverging paths to become significant characters in a world that is so beautifully drawn and designed; Piltover, the utopian society that seats on a hill. The epicentre of trade, magic, technology and science, but its underbelly is the twin sister buried beneath, Zuan. A city riddled with poverty, addiction to a substance called shimmer, and in the grip of a man who sees no cost too large to achieve his ends.
Arcane weaves a story so captivating from the off and is never too afraid to sacrifice some loveable characters to advance plot points. Game of Thrones would be proud. And if you think you are too old for animation, I urge you to reconsider. Arcane isn’t some splash of colour or rendering of pixels on a screen, every shot of this show is art, carefully put together by people who I imagine go through great pains to be attentive to detail. A mash of 2D and 3D animation beautifully conjured, it’s difficult not to appreciate the work of art FORTICHE and Riot Games have offered up.
Arcane places you at the crosshairs and wants you to not root for anyone, it’s almost impossible because everyone is fighting for something worth staking their lives for. You will walk away not sure anymore who the villain is or simply put, who doesn’t deserve your sympathy. Every single one of them is compelling and let's not forget that addictive soundtrack, Enemy by Imagine Dragons.
Check Arcane out on Netflix. You’ll thank me.