Bodies review: Netflix's mind-bending sci-fi drama will keep you guessing

The show is out now on Netflix

Watch: Yahoo UK's review of Bodies

  • 📺 Where to watch Bodies: Premieres on Netflix on Thursday, 19 October.

  • ⭐️ Our rating: 4/5

  • 🍿 Watch it if you liked: The Lazarus Project, Dark, Life on Mars.

  • 🎭 Who's in it?: Amaka Okafor, Jacob Fortune-Lloyd, Shira Haas, Kyle Soller, Stephen Graham.

  • How long is it? 8 episodes, approximately one hour each.

  • 📖 What’s it about? Four detectives in different timelines all discover the same body, and begin to investigate the mystery around it not realising the bigger picture at play.

Bodies follows an epic, complex story of four detectives in different time periods investigating the same murder, bringing the late Si Spencer's hit comic-book series to the small screen.

Read more: Everything new on Netflix in October 2023

Set in 1890, 1941, 2023, and 2053, the show charts the journey that detectives Hillinghead (Kyle Soller), Whiteman (Jacob Fortune-Lloyd), Hasan (Amaka Okafor), and Mapelwood (Shira Haas) go on as they try to learn whose body they've found and what exactly happened, but they also have their own challenges to face due to the social issues in their respective eras.

The pieces come together slowly, and while much of the first half of the season is centred on their individual journey soon audiences will see them draw closer to each other as their investigation leads them to the same shady figure, played by Stephen Graham, whose actions will put them on a surprising collision course across time and space.

Shira Haas and Stephen Graham in Bodies (Netflix)
Shira Haas and Stephen Graham in Bodies, in the show's 2053 timeline (Netflix)

With a story as vast and complicated as this, some viewers may be concerned about whether the narrative can maintain momentum as the story becomes increasingly more complex, but what the show has been able to do is craft a thoughtful human story behind the madness of the time-travel plot.

Viewers will be drawn in by Hasan, Whiteman, Hillinghead and Mapelwood, who each lead a relatively lonely existence and yet are inexplicably connected to one another.

Showrunner Paul Tomalin and fellow writer Danusia Samal make the right call in building rich stories for each character outside of the task at hand, giving each a compelling narrative that will make the audience care deeply for them.

Jacob Fortune-Lloyd as DS Whiteman in Bodies (Netflix)
Jacob Fortune-Lloyd as DS Whiteman in Bodies, in the show's 1941 timeline (Netflix)

For Hillinghead this is his romance with journalist Henry (George Parker) in a time where homosexuality is a criminal offence; for Whiteman it is the isolation of being a Jew at the height of antisemitic sentiment during World War II; for Hasan it is being a Muslim woman in the present day police force; and for Mapelwood it is her desire to belong in the dystopian utopia established by Graham's Commander Mannix.

Each storyline is unique and enthralling in its own way, and the show's phenomenal cast will keep viewers emotionally attached to their detectives as things come to a head. Okafor is especially impressive as Hasan, as she gives a powerful and emotionally-charged performance.

Amaka Okafor as DS Hasan in Bodies (Netflix)
Amaka Okafor as DS Hasan in Bodies, in the show's 2023 timeline (Netflix)

Bodies will keep the audience guessing with a constant stream of shock twists and surprising moments, though it finds itself bogged down by the complexity of Mannix's plans when they come to light during the show's second act.

Time travel can be a complicated narrative tool to use, and the Netflix show sometimes struggles with the pitfalls of it because of how difficult it is to understand — especially when it comes to Mannix's own origins.

It would be best for viewers to not think too hard about the narrative later down the line, and instead just accept it as it is.

Kyle Soller as DI Hillinghead in Bodies (Netflix)
Kyle Soller as DI Hillinghead in Bodies, in the show's 1890 timeline (Netflix)

Some of the show's reveals aren't as effective as others but overall Bodies ties things up together well, though its final moments may be frustrating to some because of how ill-placed it feels in a story that is meant to be a limited series.

That being said, each timeline has a unique feel to it and the show's stellar cast lends the story an emotional weight and make it a joy to watch from start to finish.

Bodies is out now on Netflix.

Watch the trailer for Bodies: