‘Lockwood & Co’ Is Dynamic In Its Direction, Detailed In Production And Dazzling All-Round – Series Review


Based on the novels by Jonathan Stroud, Lockwood & Co begins in the same way that the books do, with Lucy Carlyle (Ruby Stokes) and the titular Anthony Lockwood (Cameron Chapman) grumbling and bantering their way through a very chaotic ghost hunt. Just as they had to do, viewers learn on the job, with razor-sharp dialogue and an archive-based title sequence to provide context to this alternate universe suffering from The Problem.

With Type 1 and Type 2 (stronger and purposeful) ghosts haunting this public, this version of the UK has adapted to a new standard – with buzzing green street lamps to ward off lurkers and agencies whose mission is to fend off these pests. Only people under the age of 20 can detect these ghosts before they attack, seeing residues like Lockwood or, more significantly, hearing them like Lucy. Lockwood & Co has shaken free of pesky and sometimes even abusive adult supervision; with secret weapon George Karim (Ali Hadji-Heshmati), odd duck and excellent researcher to chart the way ahead, this fledgling organization fends off everything from mansion hauntings to graveyard ghouls.

The trio at the centre of the show echo their predecessors, from Percy, Annabeth and Grover, to a franchise that Shall Not Be Named, and thanks to the length of the show, we get a feel for these nuanced and brilliant characters. Lucy, whose charm is not unlike the Northern wit of Olivia Cooke, is a no-nonsense lead who learns to stand up for herself as her powers get stronger and finally finds refuge with Lockwood and George. Lockwood is a classic Byronic YA lead: angular, pale, looks like he hasn’t slept in weeks, rushing around in a suit and a sense of superiority, he cuts a fine figure, and indeed, both of them mirror the silhouettes on the cover of the first book, The Screaming Staircase as they enter combat mode, rapiers at the ready. George is coded as neurodiverse, rambling about the difference between metaphorical and actual “give me a second,” and he often laments at being surrounded by philistines. Still, he makes for a great take on the Guy In The Chair, library style. Surrounded by papers and books, his research is crucial to understanding the ghosts, but like his colleagues, he’s ready with his rapier and iron chains to fend off a Type 2.


Joe Cornish has a track record of bringing the best out of young performers, notably young Jodie Whittaker and John Boyega in Attack the Block, which became more of a cult classic than a commercial success but was popular enough to call for an upcoming sequel. Here, rather than kissing his beloved characters goodbye after the 2-hour mark, he actually gets time to develop these characters. As the series’ mysteries unravel, the bond between the three strengthens, and by thee, I would die for this found family. The dialogue is quick and witty, perhaps a little too much at some points, but it feeds in nicely to the story of these upstart teens taking on the establishment, and some of George’s deadpan insults are delightfully scathing.

The world of the show is extraordinarily detailed, using London’s diverse architecture to its advantage in this strangely analogue new world. From the high ceilings of St Pancras to the Brutalist Fittes building (I see you Barbican) to the ominous industrial estates on the Thames, Lucy Carlyle’s journey down south is our introduction to this transformed capital. And the gem of this excellent production is Lockwood’s townhouse, likely worth a fortune if house prices are anything like today’s but with four floors of cozy and creepy from a library of dusty old books to a grey basement full of weapons, archives and training simulation. At the heart of it, the kitchen: table scrawled with research, teenage insults and doodles, a pot of tea on the boil with biscuits on rotation and if you’re lucky, some of George’s finest Persian cuisine, can’t be hunting ghosts on an empty stomach! Lockwood and Co is a home, not just a company, and viewers will find themselves quickly comfortable at Portland Row. 

The storylines themselves are a tad formulaic, but this intricate web of intrigue that doesn’t baby its viewers with unnecessary details and builds up a sprawling and fascinating universe made believable by a British cast playing all sorts of characters that have evolved from this crisis. From heartless relic men collecting the sources of ghosts for auctions (Alice Lowe) to the looming authority of DEPRAC (Ivanno Jeremiah) to the legendary agency Fittes & Rotwell, headed up by Morven Christie’s girl boss. There’s so much to uncover and explore; I hope a second season brings out these cunning characters and reveals even more of this excellent lore.

Heralded by a banger of a theme tune, Lockwood & Co follows up Wednesday with a successful YA show that should win over all audiences. Unabashedly British and lovingly adapting complex source material to the best of its ability, this story is not to be missed. Come in for a cup of tea, but keep your salt bombs at the ready and join the agency for a ride. A conspiracy is afoot!

Lockwood & Co is available to stream on Netflix starting Friday, 27th January

by Fatima Sheriff

Fatima (she/her) is a biomedical sciences graduate and aspiring science communicator. Literary adaptations with beautiful soundtracks call to her, but she enjoys anything with an original concept, witty writing, diverse casting or even the briefest appearance of Dan Stevens. Her favourite films do fluctuate but her love for Paddington 2 is perennial. She can be found on Letterboxd @sherifff and on Twitter here.

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