I haven’t seen much talk about ‘The Head’ mini-series which is a damn tragedy as it is excellent. I would describe it as a mix between The Terror and The Thing which is a very good combination.
The Head follows a research team, trying to solve climate change, that are stationed in the Antarctic. The story begins as they are entering their 6-month stint of total darkness. Soon after, communication is lost with the stationed team. The rest of the team return to investigate at the end of the polar Winter, but find several of the crew missing or dead with a lot of questions to be answered. Only one survivor has the potential to shed light on this mystery of Polaris VI.
The character development in this series starts off strong. Even before we get into the gritty business of the mystery research team, we are shown there are tensions amongst them already. Annika, played by Laura Bach has some history with the lead scientist, Arthur Wilde (John Lynch), who is possibly the most unlikeable character in recent memory. And as far as Annika is concerned, Arthur has a tendency to ignore the contributions by the rest of the team in pursuit of his own glorification. We soon realize there is a loose command structure between Arthur and Erik, who are constantly battling for authority amongst themselves, leaving the rest of the crew in a limbo state.
I should mention although The Head series is mostly in English, but you will need subtitles to get the full gist of everything that is going on.
The Head is broken up into segments where we follow the main investigator who is looking for his missing wife and one of the survivors. Can we trust what we see? Can we believe what we are being told? With only one person possibly knowing the truth, we have a potentially unreliable narrator. The story is intelligently told, drawing you in. As more of the story is revealed with more mysterious elements explained, there are numerous more questions that arise. A foreboding sense of dread and mystery hovers over the characters. The writers and directors did a great job of creating this atmosphere.
The acting in this short mini-series is superb, all characters are convincing if not always likeable. But regardless they are intriguing, keeping us guessing about their motivations. Though this is mainly a mystery thriller, it does not neglect the human element. Throughout the six episodes, you get to know all the intensity and secrets of the 9 people that are confined to the base. There is as much intelligent complex drama driving the series forward as there is foreboding atmosphere surrounding the nightmare that has befallen them.
Though I did predict the ending to some degree, I was still shocked by the unveiling of the ending. Each episode give you clues throughout that if you watched close enough, you may be able to decipher them. But you are so caught up in the story, that it gives you little time to reflect on the events that are happening.
Probably the worst thing about The Head TV show has to be the title. If you are trying to find any information on it, the name is quite generic, so it’s hard to find without narrowing your search considerably. Plus in the context of the show, apart from one scene it does not really make sense. However, it is a fairly new show, only having been released by HBO Asia in June. Hopefully this series will get the attention that it deserves over time.
If you are a fan of Agatha Christie type murder mysteries with a large helping of The Thing and The Terror, The Head is the TV series for you.
The Head series is now available on HBO Max in the US and StarzPlay in the UK (also available through Prime Video subscription).