The Bastard Son and the Devil Himself
With Netflix’s catalogue already oversaturated with young adult dramas in which a chosen-one protagonist must fight against evil in a world torn apart by secret warring factions, it can be difficult to tell which are worth our time. But while its title doesn’t roll off the tongue, The Bastard Son and the Devil Himself is one of those worthwhile series.
Based on Sally Green’s Half Bad trilogy and with a script penned by Joe Barton (The Ritual, Girl/Haji), the fantasy series centres around 16-year-old Nathan (Jay Lycurgo). The illegitimate son of the world’s most feared witch, he’s been viewed as an outcast his entire life. Now that the time when he gains his power is approaching, the “good” Fairborn witches are concerned that he’ll become an “evil” Blood Witch like his father. With time running out, Nathan – accompanied by star-crossed girlfriend Annalise (Nadia Parkes) and the roguish Gabriel (Emilien Vekemans) – sets out to find answers.
Throw in a pivotal subplot about a secret prophecy and there’s a lot of exposition-heavy world building to digest in the first half of the series. Thankfully, a snappy pace keeps the action moving along swiftly without sacrificing any of the important information or character development. Likewise, the overarching themes of authoritarianism, scapegoating and prejudice are far from subtle in how they’re handled; attentive viewers will be able to pick up on where the series is likely to go with these ideas. However, everything about this world of magic and witches is executed with such conviction that audiences will still want to come along for the ride.
Holding the various moving parts of this script together is the vibrant cast of characters. Each one of them has a reason for existing in this world and has an important role to play in the events to come. And while certain roles fall into genre archetypes, every player likewise has something uniquely interesting about them. Whether it’s Nathan and Annalise’s endearing awkwardness or Gabrielle’s brilliantly sardonic wit, spending time with these people in this fantastical world is an absolute blast.
As far as YA dramas go, The Bastard Son has the style, personality and ideas (even if they’re more than a little on-the-nose) to resonate with audiences and avoid becoming another casualty of cancellation, as has been the case with so many other similar shows.
The Bastard Son and the Devil Himself is released on Netflix on 28th October 2022.
Watch the trailer for The Bastard Son and the Devil Himself here: