Review: Bloom, season 1

Phoebe Tonkin in Bloom

Bloom, from Australia, brings another sci fi series to lovers of the genre. It’s a six part series available on Hulu in the U.S. There are spoilers ahead.

Season 1 ends with a tantalizing cliffhanger, and season 2 is already in the works. Some beloved Australian stars lead this one – particularly Bryan Brown and Jacki Weaver.

Bloom reminded me very much of the Australian series Glitch for a number of reasons. Obviously, it’s a sci fi drama. Both series create an inexplicable phenomena that nobody bothers to explain or make sense of. Both are inconsistent about following their own rules around the strange events used to drive the story.

The plot problems were compensated for by the fact that the characters were well drawn and interesting.

The Many Characters

Bryan Brown in Bloom

Ray (Bryan Brown) and his wife Gwen (Jacki Weaver) struggle with her dementia. She’s in a home and doesn’t know him most of the time. One day Ray’s old dog, Honey, eats a glowing berry-like thing growing in the very spot where a young boy died in a flood just one year ago.

The dog becomes a puppy. It takes a while, but Ray eventually connects the youthfulness of his dog to the glowing berry. Plot twist, the effect doesn’t last.

Five people died in the flood. In each of the places where people died, this strange plant grows.

Ryan Corr in Bloom
Naked and free

We are taken into the story by a naked Ryan Corr, running down the small town’s main street. He’s a stranger in town. He says his name is Sam, but later he ages into an old man named Tommy. Tommy is wanted for murder. Like the dog Honey, he tried the glowing berry.

Sam/Tommy (Ryan Corr and Rod Mullinar), like many characters in this story, is played by a young actor and an older actor.

Ray took a berry to Gwen. When she ate it she became his beautiful young wife, a former movie star. The young Gwen was played by Phoebe Tonkin. The secret of the glowing berry spread among select people, who were willing to do almost anything to keep a supply of berries coming.

When people eat the berry for the first time they become young, full of energy, hungry, and very horny. Sex and food are a priority. Sam/Tommy takes up with a cop’s wife, Tina (Nikki Shiels). Her being willing to have sex with a complete stranger was important later, because Tina’s sister Karen was among those who died in the flood.

Hungry and horny Gwen gets Ray in bed and then she runs over to find her former lover Max (John Stanton and Sam Reid) and gives him a go, too.

Jacob Collins-Levy in Bloom
Looking good there, Herb.

Herb (Terry Norris and Jacob Collins-Levy) is currently married to Loris (Anne Charleston). His plant is growing in the confessional at church. Herb can’t forget the lover he had in Viet Nam, Frank (Peter Carroll and Angus McLaren). He takes his young self and a berry to see Frank.

Farida’s (Amali Golden and Usha Cornish) husband died on the toilet when the flood hit. She’s living in the nursing home. She notices what happens to Gwen. She steals a scooter and heads to her mud-crusted home. The plant she seeks is growing in the toilet.

Plants in confessionals, plants in toilets. I mean, points for that, right?

The plant found by Sam/Tommy is at the site where 12 year-old Isaac’s (Thomas Fisher) mother died. Her body’s never been found so Isaac refuses to believe she’s dead. His other mother, Vivian (Tessa Rose) tries her best to help him deal with his grief. Even in flashbacks, we never see Isaac’s two moms together.

Isaac reminds Sam/Tommy of his own son who died, the real Sam. The two of them hang out together a lot.

Other characters who need to be mentioned are the cops Griffo (Daniel Henshall) and Rhonda (Genevieve Morris).

Overall Thoughts

Glen Dolman created Bloom. He used his inconsistently applied idea for a way to recapture youth to make a number of points about human nature. He showed the extremes people will go to for a second chance at youth, but he also showed how wisdom can sometimes prevail. The berry was labeled both a pot of gold and as an abomination. Love, loyalty, jealousy, rage, grief, and honesty all became motifs among the various characters.

The series is more a character study than anything else. Go into it with that in mind and you’ll most likely enjoy it. In terms of sci fi cred, the series doesn’t create a cohesive world like some shows. Instead, it creates an effect that it doesn’t even try to explain. It just is. The way people deal with it is what matters.

Even a year after the flood, many parts of the town were still spotted with mud and mold. Things were buried in odd ways in heaps of mud. The color palette used in the series was mainly a grim brown. It matched the mud and the bare dirt surrounding the town.

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Check out the trailer. It’s barely a glimpse of what you can expect in 6 episodes.

Stan, by the way, is an Australian company something like Hulu or Netflix. They create original content that we may see more of in the US.

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