New to streaming is the psychological TV thriller, Fatal Attraction. The series – starring Joshua Jackson and Lizzie Caplan – is a reimagining of the 1987 movie of the same name, about two people who enter into a brief affair with tragic consequences.
In the series, Dan Gallagher is a district attorney living in Los Angeles, along with his wife and daughter. Dan has a great life, a good relationship with his family, and is hopeful that in the not-too distant future he will become a judge.
One day, while overseeing a trial in his role as DA, Dan meets Alex Forrest – a newly hired member of the Victim Services department. The meeting between Dan and Alex is brief, but the two share a moment before going their separate ways.
A short while later, Dan and Alex meet again while out for dinner and drinks. A further connection is made, and then cemented when the two share a suggestive elevator ride.
This encounter sends them on a new path, which eventually leads to the pair embarking on an affair. But this affair comes with consequences, with Alex not-so keen to let Dan go from her life.
Those who have previously watched the film version of Fatal Attraction will know how the Dan and Alex pairing plays out. The clue is in title, so that should give things away quite quickly, plus the movie is pretty well known, even to those who have never seen it before.
But the purpose of this new television show is to take the existing story of Fatal Attraction, flesh it out a bit, and attempt to add some additional layers to the material. With the opportunity to expand the characters and the premise, this updated take on Fatal Attraction wants to deliver the same thrills and drama as the original, but with some new and interesting wrinkles.
So far, only a few episodes of Fatal Attraction have been released to streaming, but there are enough episodes available to gain an understanding of the tone and direction of the series. The episodes set up the premise of Fatal Attraction, they introduce all the main players (Jackson as Dan, Caplan as Alex, etc), and they introduce one new key alteration from the original: A time jump.
When the first episode of Fatal Attraction begins, the affair between Dan and Alex has already taken place. The series then goes back in time through the use of extensive flashbacks, to explain what happened in the past, before exploring the impact the affair has had on Dan and his family in the present day.
The time jump is something which interests me, and it is ultimately the hook which got me into this new version of Fatal Attraction. But this little tweak to the story, as interesting as it maybe, does not make Fatal Attraction 2.0 a particularly worthwhile experience.
While this series looks good and has a decent cast, its execution is not so well handled, and it falls at the first hurdle. Fatal Attraction is plodding, with the first episode in particular being exceptionally slow and dull, and this is something which remains with the series moving forward.
The first episode has the hook, but it doesn’t have the affair – this important plot device doesn’t turn up until the second episode. However, even when the affair does take place, and the story stars to progress, Fatal Attraction still moves at a glacial pace.
The first episode runs to around 50 minutes, the second episode is a touch longer, and the third is around the same. Within the time it takes to watch the first few episodes of the series, you could have easily finished the movie and made yourself some lunch, and both of these things would feel like a much better use of your time.
I appreciate the point of Fatal Attraction is to flesh out the movie, but I’d argue fleshing out a story means adding additional content that feels worthwhile. Dragging something out to the nth degree is not the same thing, and that’s what Fatal Attraction seems to do.
This series also lacks energy and excitement. There is absolutely no spark between Dan and Alex, and this is another significant issue.
The two begin a sexual relationship because that’s what it says in the script. At no point in the series do the characters share any kind of connection or chemistry, no matter how much the show wants it, so it is up to viewers to fill in the gaps.
Joshua Jackson and Lizzie Caplan are fine in their respective roles as Dan and Alex, and Caplan does get to lean into some dark territory with the third episode, which lifts things up a touch, but still not in a significant way. The scripts just don’t feel strong enough, ultimately lacking the sparkle that made the original what it was, and this makes it all feel a bit pointless.
It is possible that things will pick up in future episodes, but I’m not sure I’m all that interested to see where this series goes next. There are so many shows available, and only so much time to fit them all in, so if something doesn’t catch after three lengthy instalments you have to wonder how much more investment will it take?
I also can’t help but wonder, will newcomers really stick with this show after the first episode? The drawn-out approach to Fatal Attraction offers little in the way of short-term enjoyment, so outside of those who already know what’s coming, will newbies play the waiting game?
Probably not. And then that begs the final question: Why bother?
If the show is only likely to attract those who are already familiar with the original film, then why remake it in the first place? Surely it then becomes a waste of time and money?!
Ultimately, this latest version of Fatal Attraction does nothing for me. It fails to improve on the original, it lacks the passion of its predecessor, and at times it bored the life out of me.
It does have occasional moments that work, and given more time, perhaps it could really go to some intriguing places, but based on the first collection of episodes I feel I’ve had my fill. Telling a new version of the same story is only worthwhile if there’s something new to add, and I’m not convinced this iteration of Fatal Attraction will ever achieve this.
Should you wish to check out Fatal Attraction for yourself, the series is streaming on Paramount+. However, my advice would be to watch or re-watch the movie instead and save yourself some time.
Thank you for taking the time to read this review on It’s A Stampede!. For more reviews, check out the recommended reads below.
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