From is a novel for television. Having finished its first highly compelling season, this viewer can’t wait to discover what is in store in the next part of the series.
The series concerns itself with a small, rundown town in the middle of nowhere. It begins with an ominous scene of the town’s sheriff, Boyd (played by Harold Perrineau of Lost and The Matrix franchise fame), walking down the narrow main street ringing a bell. The scene is, of course, reminiscent of those medieval stories told of the Black Plague when carts were dragged down roads to the accompaniment of bells and shouts to, “Bring out yer’ dead!”
A quiet road runs through the center of town, and we discover, as the Matthews family (Jim, Tabitha, Julie, and Ethan) passes through in their motorhome, that once you have found yourself on the road and traveled through town, you cannot leave. The road keeps leading back through town.
And that bell Boyd Stevens is ringing? That’s to signal the residents to take shelter from the night because there are things that come in from the surrounding forest. Things with an unquenchable bloodthirst and eager to feast on anyone loose and unprotected in the night.
Residents nail windows shut and lock doors to keep these creatures at bay. The creatures seem to have the combined characteristics of vampires and zombies. They want to be invited inside, and they consume human flesh.
From is a slow burn, taking its time to show its hand. And there is so much more going on underneath the predator/prey angle of the story that it has quite a bit to reveal. One of the more interesting mysteries being that all residents in this quaint and queer town came to it and its mysterious road while driving in different parts of the country. The show requires patience as it unfolds like a novel. We get to spend time with different characters and learn their motivations and histories (at least for some of them). The first season ends on a mind-bending cliffhanger. From is human drama, mystery, horror, and science fiction all wrapped into one show eschewing easy classification. The viewer can only hope that should the series be renewed for subsequent seasons and is lucky enough to be able to reach the end of the narrative it wants to tell, the journey to its conclusion is better conceived and plotted than the likes of, say, Lost, the DNA of which is front and center in From. So, I hope there is a definitive blueprint pushing From’s narrative arc. It would be a shame to see another great show with an intriguing premise unravel into so many disparate threads the showrunners are unable to tie together convincingly.