Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Bored

Updated: Aug 31, 2019


Since there are no rules to this column, and the fine Blood Bound folks kind of let me do what I want, I’m going to do something different with this one. I’m going to review a YA horror series on Hulu. YA is not a territory I venture into much, especially not the literary world, but I had read some good things about this series and was intrigued. Into the weird we go!


Light as a Feather is based on a YA novel by Zoe Aarsen. The first season premiered on Hulu in 2018 and the second season came out a few weeks ago. The story follows a group of teen girls, each of whom are struggling with their own personal issues, who decide to play the old party game “Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board.” Well, things go wrong. The girl leading the game is Violet, someone the group of close friends doesn’t know very well but are willing to invite into their circle. They’ll soon come to regret this decision. During the game, Violet predicts the death of each girl, after which they intone the “Light as a feather” chant and lift the person in discussion. When it’s over, everyone admits that was kind of weird and they go on about their ways. And then—you guessed it—they start dying one by one, each exactly as predicted by Violet during the game. The group, led by main girl McKenna, must try to solve the mystery. Why is this happening to them? How can they stop it?

Season One pretty much gets right to it. There’s no messing around. Girls start dying and it’s ugly. No, the show doesn’t get very gory (this one is aimed at teens and softens blows that could have been devastating otherwise) but it is interesting, and the central mystery is compelling. More information about the curse that both the group and Violet herself endures, is gradually spooled out, keeping curiosity alive and well. No, it’s not the best show on planet earth, but it was entertaining, and like its name, pretty light. Each episode was around twenty minutes long, so it never overstayed its welcome. Briskly paced, I enjoyed Season One for the fluff it was, and the twist at the end was interesting and promised more fun to come.



Season Two though…


It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t very good, either. Whereas Season One really dove into the mysteries and the suspense and there were times it felt like things were careening out of control, this one sort of just limps along. They spend more time with the characters, which isn’t a bad thing, but it’s all love story and teen angst. While the first season had plenty of this, it was leavened with the horror so it went down a lot easier. This season seems to forget its roots at times and we get too much insipid teen drama. The show is never bad, it just doesn’t have the breakneck speed of the first season, and instead feels like a slog. The new mystery, which I can’t reveal without giving away major spoilers, is pretty interesting. I would have liked them to explore it more, and the ramifications of a certain major character’s actions, but instead, the show was treading water. The climax in the final episode was fairly boring. Nothing much happens this season but emoting, and anguish, and the characters aren’t so interesting that this carries much weight. It’s not a dud, but boy, there sure is a lot of filling time going on here, and for a show that’s only about twenty minutes an episode, that ain’t good. Season Three is this Fall, and the cliffhanger here promises more darkness and weirdness to come. We shall see.



All of the actors carry their weight, they’re all good, all good-looking, and all clean and safe (even the “punk rock girl”) which is another problem I have with this show (I feel the same about most teen shows in this regard). Everything is too nice and clean. There’s no dirt here, no grit. Everyone is pretty, no one has a blemish, and everyone has money. There are no real-life struggles other than in a melodramatic, operatic sense. The characters are one-note, and while the actors do a great job getting you to care for them to the extent they can be cared for, it does leave me wanting more. I dunno, maybe because I’m an old man I just “don’t get it,” and that’s totally fair. But man, these teens are vacuous and self-centered. The horror in Season One makes up for this but it does not in Season Two. Still, I’m intrigued and will follow along as the next game is played, and see what the consequences are this time.


Light as a Feather is good fun, for the most part, if you want to pass some time and not get invested in something that is heavy and must be watched every second. In other words, it’s good background noise, easy to follow along with, and fairly brief. It isn’t a waste of your time, but it certainly won’t curl your toes in terror.



Season One:


Three Buckets of Teen Tears out of Four



Season Two:


Two Buckets of Teen Tears out of Four




Kelly is the author of dozens of stories and dozens of reviews, he likes to write, he likes to read, he likes going to the movies, and he loves to laugh.  He hails from the wilds of Kentucky and if you'd like to see more of his work, check out his website: 

www.kellymhudson.com

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