Hunted scientist Murat in Hot Skull

Fans of paranoia‑inducing dystopian sci-fi will enjoy this new drama series on Netflix, which is full of warnings for the world today.

A totalitarian regime uses a pandemic to seize control of power. A police state monitors citizens’ every movement.

Walled sections of cities are closely guarded to keep the “infected” out. The deadly virus is transmitted through speech, a phenomena called “jabbering” in the series.

This leads to a sense of semantic satiation as the word is repeated over and over. Just a few seconds exposure to jabbering can lead to infection.

Murat Siyavus (Osman Sonat) is a former research scientist who has been forced underground after a mysterious accident at his laboratory which no one else survives. The first few episodes don’t make clear why, but  he is immune to the virus.

He exposes this fact in a supermarket when he saves a child from jabbering by offering up his chunky headphones, an everyday item due to the virus. This sets off a manhunt for Siyavus.

The cop in charge of this wants to understand the research project he was working on before the pandemic. His boss tells him not to investigate.

Rather than viewing the action from both perspectives, viewing it only from that of the hunted could have made the series more disorienting and unsettling. Instead, we are encouraged to sympathise with both the persecuted and those persecuting, a kind of Stockholm syndrome popular in modern TV series.

Despite this, Hot Skull is a worthwhile watch.

Hot Skull is available to stream on Netflix now

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