Lore - Season 01, Episodes 01 - 03 TV Episodes Review
Written by Steve Pattee
Released by Amazon Prime
Written and directed by various
Created by Aaron Menkhe
2017, Not Rated
Premiered on Amazon Prime on October 13th, 2017
I have been a fan of the Lore podcast for a few years now. So much so, I was actually a Patreon of it for a time. In each episode, its host and creator, Aaron Mahnke, delves into the roots of urban legends and old wives’ tales to find out where, when and how they came about. The…lore. What’s great about it is he generally sticks to the darker side of history, the stuff you aren’t going to learn in school.
Starting on October 13th (a Friday, no less), Amazon Prime will premiere the first of six episodes based on Mahnke’s podcast. Does it make the transition to the screen smoothly? Having watched the first three episodes, I can say that while it's rough around the edges, it's off to a good start.
The series opens with a nice start with “They Made a Tonic”, a tale that centers on the time when being buried alive was a real problem, what people thought caused it, what they did to avoid it, and what came out of it. While the episode focuses on one particular family (and for good reason, as you’ll see at the end of the show), you easily get a good idea on how crazy the lengths were that people went through to make sure the dead were dead and stayed dead back before science provided other more realistic means to verify death. It’s hard to mock these folks, especially since even today many people discard science, instead choosing to believe what a Playboy Playmate tells them. Just saying.
“Black Stockings” follows, and of the first three, it’s the most drawn out. The story itself is interesting; it tells of the phenomenon of people becoming convinced someone that they trust and love isn’t really them. Like “They Made a Tonic”, it follows one family, one that is an important part of the lore of the tale. Both the story and history are fascinating, but the episode drags because there’s not a lot of meat to it. However, oddly, instead of discussing more about changelings, the “cause” of this insanity, there are some seemingly random discussions on hysteria, as well as Annie Oakley and her husband. While these parts are interesting, they feel forced.
Lore bounces back strong, though, with the third episode, “Echoes”. My favorite of the three, this one covers the history of the lobotomy told from the man who championed it. While the show on the whole lacks much gore, there is some great direction in this one with its cringe-inducing scenes caused more from what you think is happening rather than what you are seeing. There are even some interesting tidbits on some famous folks who got lobotomies, and why.
If I have one issue with the Lore podcast, it’s that it’s usually too short, many times leaving me wanting more of the story. The opposite is true of the first three episodes of the TV show. While the stories are very much in step with the podcast (and they should, all three episodes were podcast shows as well), they need to be tightened up. There are times, especially in “Black Stockings” nothing is happening and it’s the equivalent of dead air.
However, I suspect once Lore finds its feet, it will be everything the podcast is and possibly more. The show uses a mix of animation, real life, and photos to tell its stories, and it doesn’t shy away from making the viewer uncomfortable. Menkhe has over two years of podcast episodes already, so there is a figurative well of tales to tell, and I’m hoping Amazon Prime gives it at least two seasons to find its voice because I’m eager to see where it goes.