Seattle — Prime Video’s “Harlan Coben’s Shelter” is an unexpectedly good, binge-worthy thriller with potential.
The show follows Mickey Bolitar, played by Jaden Michael, who starts a new life in Kasselton, New Jersey, after suddenly losing his father in an accident. Mickey fixates on the mysterious disappearance of a new student, Ashley Kent, played by Samantha Bugliaro, in this new town. With the help of his friends, he uncovers unimaginable secrets within the quiet suburban neighborhood.
The series is based on Harlan Coben’s novel “Shelter” and is approached similarly to shows like “Riverdale” and “Pretty Little Liars.” Something happening in this town is connected to the main characters and is waiting to be revealed.
A mysterious old lady approaches Mickey with unexpected news about his father. Mickey is the new kid at school and meets the other new kid, Ashley. The pair become interested in one another, and it’s the beginning of their romance. However, when Ashley doesn’t show up for her date with Mickey or at school the next day, Mickey becomes obsessed with discovering what happened to her. It’s fascinating to see Mickey’s obsession with trying to save someone he only met and talked to for a few hours.
Each episode has several events that make up the plot leaving you wanting to watch the next. You’re shown enough to know what’s happening but still confused because there are more layers to what you just watched.
Although the plot has outstanding elements, this show could have done better in many ways. Some parts of the show made sense, but Ashley’s story could be clearer. Although the scenes explain her disappearance, there are gaps that only a rewatch would help. The show could also do better by showcasing the backgrounds of other characters helping to see who they are. For instance, with Ema, we’re shown her struggles dealing with her mother’s fame, but there is no digging into past events that explain her feelings and actions. We don’t get to explore other characters’ backgrounds like Rachel and Spoon.
The show uses backshadowing to showcase previous events that make sense of the present day. This series highlights unexpected romances, friendship, and the hyper awareness of secrets and heroism.
This season’s biggest downfall was the ending. The ending brought closure to the main character, but did not end in a way that would allow the audience to anticipate or desire another season or provide space to ask what happens next.
There is lots of room for growth with “Harlan Coben’s Shelter,” but because it’s filled with many surprises, it keeps you engaged and is worth watching.
Tracy Noze is a Seattle-based journalist.
Edited by Nyekya Woods