To Catch a Deadly Ghost, Hire Lockwood & Co
The world has changed where ghosts are deadly and can only be seen or heard by children. Teenage paranormal agents are trained and certified with official oversight. Lockwood & Co is a very small independent agency founded by Anthony Lockwood (Cameron Chapman) with one employee – George Karim (Ali Hadji-Heshmati). They take on a third agent, a very highly gifted Lucy Carlisle (Ruby Stokes), who has a questionable history as an agent due to an accident that she tried to prevent during her training. The three work together to attempt to solve a major mystery and establish themselves as legitimate and respected paranormal investigators.
Written and produced by Joe Cornish for Netflix, Lockwood & Co is based on the books of the same name by Jonathan Stroud. The first season is based on Stroud’s first two books, The Whispering Skull and The Screaming Staircase. Lockwood & Co first aired on Netflix on January 27th, 2023 where it is currently streaming.
This Decade’s Best Teen Horror Series
The 1960s and 1970s teenagers had Nancy Drew & The Hardy Boys. The 1980’s teens had Scooby-Doo. The 1990s teens had Beetlejuice. The 2000’s teens had Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The 2010s teens had The Vampire Diaries. They can all step aside because Lockwood & Co is here. If the second season is as fun and exciting as the first season, this series can claim the throne for 2020’s best teen horror show.
There are eight interconnected episodes with individual ghost stories while pushing the larger plot forward to a grand finale where all the loose ends are tied together. Set in London, England, the story begins when Lucy Carlyle, who had a bit of bad luck with her training, was not allowed to graduate from the paranormal academy and was blackballed in her attempt to join any agency. Then she applied to Lockwood & Co, a small independent agency owned by Anthony Lockwood. After an unorthodox interview, he hires her to work as a listener somewhat over the objections of his head of research and only other employee, George Karim.
Working together wasn’t always easy as Lockwood and Carlisle don’t always agree. Over time they each discover truths about themselves, about each other, and the ghosts they fight to contain or destroy. Most of all they learned that evil isn’t just reserved for the afterlife – there is plenty enough in the living to keep a small, independent company very busy for many seasons to come.
Young Actors Rule! Adults Just Get in The Way
Early in the series, Lucy Carlisle is asked why there is no adult supervision at Lockwood & Co. and she replies “because adults just get in the way.” That is so ironic because the series does portray most of the adults as either nefarious, manipulative, or both. With one exception, the sometimes gruff, sometimes angry inspector Barnes (Ivanno Jeremiah) who works for the Department of Research and Control (DEPRAC), overseeing all paranormal investigations in London.
Anthony Lockwood is a young English lad who lost both his parents early in life and is gifted in sighting residue from death or ghosts. He is the suave and sometimes overconfident owner of Lockwood & Co. Once his family home, it is now the company office and where its three employees live. Anthony doesn’t always communicate well with girls, but he is adept at fencing and swordplay and his awkwardness around Lucy Carlisle is totally endearing.
Lucy is the star of this show. She is a listener whose powers far exceed all the other paranormal agents, which can be both a hindrance and a help. Ruby Stokes is excellent in her portrayal of Lucy Carlisle. Her anger over being underestimated feels real and she goes toe to toe with Lockwood in more than one scene – and wins those arguments.
The third employee and head of research is George Karim. He is the worrier, the doubter, and sometimes late because he’s thorough – and he doesn’t forget the iron chains. He doesn’t have special powers.
All three characters are well-developed, the script is well-written, their interactions are well-timed, and their believability is what carries the show forward.
Cinematography, Settings, & Special Effects
The cemetery at night feels creepy, the Thames River feels dirty, and the London streets look dank and foggy. The storage rooms and factory buildings feel haunted. The settings feel real while some feel dangerous. Kudos to the three cinematographers Curtis Olive, Thomas Townend, and Ben Wheeler for their excellent work.
None of this works if the ghosts aren’t believable but thankfully, the CGI work is well done. The ghosts are very realistic and some of those ghosts are quite scary as well – and that includes the talking skull!
Although the show caters to young adults, it is suitable for the entire family to enjoy. Binge watch it or take it slower, either way, it’s a good show with an excellent story, fine characters, and worth having in your collection. Lockwood & Co is now streaming exclusively on Netflix.
Lockwood & Co (2023) Official Netflix Trailer