What makes Netflix programs so popular in the first place is “Clickbait.” Some of Hollywood’s best performers take on a story that defies logic, yet proceeds at a breakneck speed, concludes on cliffhangers like clockwork, and includes just enough zig-zagging to keep the audience wondering until the end. “Clickbait” does exactly what it says on the box: it hooks you in with enticing visuals, whizzes along, and leaves you pleased before you forget everything you just saw. As a result of its eight episodes that are constantly outrageous, it’s a very binge-worthy show.
‘The Slap’ creators Tony Ayres and Christian White tell the story of a family that becomes caught up in a strange, only-for-this-moment mystery. When Nick Brewer (Adrian Grenier) appears in a viral video carrying a series of placards that read “I abuse women” and “after 5 million views, I die,” it’s revealed that he’s married, fathered, and a father. Everywhere you look, people are watching this video on their phones, tablets, and laptops. The video has amassed thousands of views in a matter of minutes and has taken over news networks.
Where did he come from? From two distinct perspectives, “Clickbait” tackles this issue in “Clickbait.” A special mention should be made to Nick’s family, including his startled and angry sister Pia (“Zoe Kazan”), Andrea (“Elizabeth Alexander”), and Sophie (“Betty Gabriel”), as well as Ethan (“Camaron Engels”) and Kai (“Betty Gabriel”) (Jaylin Fletcher). A tiny Oakland town where everyone appears to know Nick’s fate quickly consumes everyone, the Brewers’ lives. There are gossip rumors among Sophie’s schoolmates; Ethan and Kai’s classmates turn on them, and reporters are camped outside their homes. Nick’s fate is a mystery, and no one knows why. On the other hand, what did Nick do to bring this about?
“Pia,” who is full of spontaneity and impulsiveness and whom Kazan imbues with restless energy, won’t stand by and let the cops do their job. “This is not a confessional video.” Nick has been given a death threat,” she claims, and she goes to her hacker buddy Vince (Jack Walton) to assist her in investigating on her own. Det. Roshan Amiri (Phoenix Raei) is her partner in crime. It turns out that Nick wasn’t the devoted father he seemed to be, as they follow many clues, including Was Nick seen someplace; where were the videos of him shot; did he vanish on his way to work? The first dating app profile emerges, then another, and another, and another. In the wake of Nick’s abduction, his family and those interested in his case must attempt to piece together who Nick truly was without the help of Nick himself.
There are eight episodes of “Clickbait,” each of which is focused on a different character. Pia, who takes things personally and feels terrible about her previous encounter with Nick, is the first to be introduced. On the other hand, Sophie has her secret to keep the family together. Ethan and Kai, who dread the worst, have a distinct, almost symbiotic connection with what is happening to their father because of their lives spent completely on social media. Even the show’s “clickbait” protagonists, Roshan and Ben Park (Abraham Lim), who view this as a chance to improve their careers, receive their solo episodes.
As a result, the “truth” of events does not vary from person to person. To play with subjectivity vs. objectivity in “Clickbait” would have been too much. Instead, each concentrated chapter provides a glimpse into the inner lives of the individuals. It is the performers who seize these chances and take full use of them. The series benefits from its lack of pretense.
“Pia” is Kazan’s character, and she’s the show’s anchor. She’s full of disdainful energy, guilty glares, and thunderous strides. A point is made in “Clickbait” regarding how crazy the white Pia may be compared to the black Sophie, and while it isn’t taken to its logical conclusion, the issue is at least raised. Roshan’s family speaks Persian, and he prays in a mosque. A character of Iranian origin who isn’t a terrorist is depressingly uncommon in Hollywood, and Raei has the perfect demeanor to fit into attractive, somewhat smarmy police parts. Is there a spinoff of “Law & Order” that requires a new detective? I think Raei has potential!
Do any of these performances hint at dark depths? No, not at all. However, the script does not allow for much background development. A few moments peppered throughout (particularly in the fourth episode) play a little too much with the “real” world vs. what we portray on our social media profiles, which is a problem. As for Ethan and Kai, in particular, the series treats them more as inconveniences than genuine narrative concerns, making them seem underdeveloped.