Harlan Coben’s Shelter review: Engaging teen series strikes a good balance

Harlan Coben’s Shelter follows the life of Mickey Bolitar, a teenager who gets sucked into a big conspiracy following the death of his father in an accident. The series is available on Prime Video.

Story

Mickey Bolitar moves back to the United States with his family after several years abroad but the return isn’t auspicious and his family is caught in a car accident where Mickey’s father dies.

With his mother admitted to a behavioral facility for depression, Mickey moves to his father’s hometown of Kasselton with his aunt Shira and joins a new school.

He immediately makes some new friends, including fellow new kid Ashley. However, when Ashley disappears on the second day of school, Mickey investigates her disappearance and finds out more about his father’s life growing up and what he actually did for a living.

Performances

Jaden Michael plays the role of Mickey Bolitar and leads the series admirably. The character is brave and confident but also bull-headed sometimes and Michael encapsulates all these qualities perfectly.

Abby Corrigan and Adrian Greensmith are similarly delightful as Ema and Arthur “Spoon” Spindell as they bring their own wonderful energies to the series. They complement Michael really well and also shine on their own.

Sage Linder belatedly comes in as a regular highlight and her performances are pleasant. Brian Altemus is impressive as the high school bully with more layers to him.

Constance Zimmer, Tovah Feldshuh, Hunter Emery, and multiple others round out a decent cast that works together well.

Positives

The series doesn’t always take sensationalism too far and mostly remains grounded in reality. The teenagers are the central characters and they still go through things that normal teenagers go through in their normal lives.

The story is adapted well for the screen while still remaining distinct from the source material. The characters are constructed well and they are backed up by the performances and direction.

The cinematography is impressive and occasionally employs some very good techniques to enhance the impact of a particular scene. The series soundtrack is also very influential on the tone.

Negatives

There are obviously some weak points in the narrative that cannot be ignored and force the audience to question the logic. Shira looking past Mickey’s nights out and believing his excuses is an example of where the series loses some credibility.

The final episode feels more like a standalone setup for the following season and fits awkwardly with this one. The seventh episode is more of a definitive end to the series arc and the episode structure could have been done with some fine-tuning.

Verdict

Harlan Coben’s Shelter is the latest adaptation of the famed author’s works and this one truly offers an interesting story with enough drama, action, and suspense to keep the audience interested. There are some minor nitpicks about the season but overall, it is definitely worth the watch and sets things up nicely for the follow-up.

Harlan Coben's Shelter
Harlan Coben's Shelter review: Engaging teen series strikes a good balance 1

Director: Edward Ornelas, Christina Choe, Deborah Kampmeier, Patricia Cardoso

Date Created: 2023-08-18 05:30

Editor's Rating:
3.5

Also Read: Shelter (2023) season 1 episodes 1, 2, and 3 recaps and review

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