If you’re a fan of parallel universes, spies or have ever wondered what it would be like to meet an identical clone of yourself then we have some wonderful news for you: there’s a new sci-fi thriller TV show coming soon that will tick all these boxes.
It’s called Counterpart and it stars Oscar-winner J.K. Simmons (who you’ll recognise from the movie Whiplash or possibly as Daily Bugle editor J. Jonah Jameson in Spiderman) and Harry Lloyd (who played the whiny Viserys Targaryen in Game of Thrones).
Here’s the premise: East German scientists in Berlin have somehow made an accidental clone of the universe (oops), which ends up producing a parallel and competing dimension. For 30 years, governments have kept this secret second universe under wraps, but the emergence of a badass, female assassin from the other side threatens to throw the whole thing out of whack.
Sounds cool, right? Well, it already has a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. And because we at ShortList are so good to you we’ve bagged a UK exclusive clip from the show’s first episode of the moment Howard Silk (J.K. Simmons) meets his duplicate. Enjoy!
Who’s in it?
J.K. Simmons (Howard Silk)
Simmons plays Howard Silk, a lowly cog in the bureaucratic machinery of a Berlin-based United Nations spy agency. When Howard discovers that his organisation safeguards the secret of a crossing into a parallel dimension, he is thrust into a shadowy world of intrigue, danger, and double crossing.
Olivia Williams (Emily Silk)
Emily Burton Silk, Howard’s wife, a mysterious woman whose secrets become the centerpiece of the first season’s story.
Harry Lloyd (Peter Quayle)
Peter Quayle, an upper-crust director at Howard’s agency, whose carefully calibrated career slowly begins to unravel as he sinks deeper into the world of espionage and double lives.
Sara Serraiocco (Baldwin)
Baldwin, a mysterious assassin whose life takes on a new purpose when she is exposed to the other side.
What’s it like?
I had the chance to watch the first four episodes – and I’m happy to tell you, it’s pretty good! Be prepared for the long haul because this 10-part drama is a real slow burner. It’s part Homeland, part Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, part Terry Gilliam’s Brazil.
You’re constantly second-guessing yourself while watching Counterpart, which works really well with the oppressive Cold War vibe. And this show makes lots of references to the ancient and extremely complex board game Go – the main character plays it in the first episode and Go pieces can be seen in the opening title sequence. This is important because you’ll likely struggle to follow and unpick each strand of the show’s layered storyline, which actually is a good thing; we want our espionage-type shows to be complex - that’s why we love them.
On a deeper level, what makes Counterpart so compelling is that it’s a narrative about identity and about the little things that define who we are.
The series gets more and more exciting as the episodes progress and there are even hints that more devastating inter-universe conflict could be on the horizon. There’s also a particularly strong performance from British actress Olivia Williams who could bag herself some serious gongs for her part in this show.
Basically, Counterpart will be well worth a watch.
When/where can I watch it?
The first few episodes of Counterpart have already aired in the US on the Starz network but there isn’t yet a confirmed channel or air date in the UK. As soon as this is firmed up though we’ll be the first to tell you.
Here’s the full trailer:
(Images: © 2018 MRC II Distribution Company, LP)