Voulez-vous Netflix avec moi ce soir?
Because Osmosis, the newest French science-fiction series on Netflix, is ready for your streaming pleasure. An eight-episode series created by Audrey Fouche, Osmosis offers geeks worldwide a taste of a familiar genre in perhaps an unfamiliar language.
This article is a spoiler-free review of the Netflix sci-fi series.
Set in near-future Paris, Osmosis documents the debut of a new dating technology, Osmosis, which promises users seeking relationships to identify their one and only soulmate. The story takes place over the course of a few months before Osmosis is debuted to the public, from the start of its beta-testing to the day of its launch. Of course, despite its claims to guarantee true love, the technology broaches rapidly emerging ethical and moral challenges to its modern-day society, which is not in the least bit ready to handle them.
Not to mention the drama that unfolds within the Osmosis company itself — which will rival the drama of your own workplace and most certainly serve to trouble the characters as well as the future of the technology. At its foundation, Osmosis presents the story of a company in its best attempts to keep its public image untainted in the face of external forces actively seeking its demise, even as it also quickly going to shit from the inside, hosting plenty of plot twists and relationship drama. Perhaps it’s not so ironic the story takes place in Paris, the city of amour.
Plot & Characters
The series follows a wide cast of characters: The two main protagonists of the story are Paul (Hugo Becker) and Esther (Agathe Bonitzer), the siblings that co-created Osmosis — Paul, who oversees the business and publicity side, and Esther, who manages the research end and developed the super-computer (named Martin) behind the technology. We also follow a few of the volunteer beta-testers for Osmosis — Lucas (Stephane Pitti), a gay man questioning his committed relationship; Ana (Luana Silva), a woman struggling with her body image; Niels (Manoel Dupont), a teenager with poor impulse control. We are also introduced to Billie (Yuming Hey), the head researcher, and Gabriel (Gael Kamilindi), Paul’s right-hand man in finance.
Everyone in the show has an arc significant to themselves and contributory to the central story, which kept me interested and continually guessing how all the pieces to the puzzle would eventually fit together.
Most of the critical revelations and moments in the series takes place within dialogue, so I would make sure to listen and/or pay close attention to the subtitles. I personally chose to watch Osmosis with the original French audio, which was important to me not only because the audio would match the actors’ lips, but also so that I could pocket some useful expressions for very particular moments in my life. (Je m’en fous! Merde!)
As most good science-fiction does, Osmosis presents new innovative technology and then surmises everything that could possibly go wrong with it. So, while at heart (no pun intended), the series introduces the idea of a technology that will guarantee true love, its tale lies more in the exploration of defining the bounds of a relationship. The show questions the validity of even the possibility of having a soulmate and what consequences there are to knowing who the soulmate is. It asks what love becomes when love turns into an answer that can be easily calculated in an algorithm.
Admittedly, the science portrayed in the series is a little more on the magical side, leaving a lot to raise an eyebrow. The technology apparently works as soon as a user simply swallows an implant packed with nano-robots, creating a glowing tattoo on the left forearm while also providing mental visuals of The One. Also, the Osmosis technology can serve as an all-in-one GPS locator, blood chemistry analyzer, and vitals-measuring instrument. All this happens somehow via oral-neural route that bypasses the blood-brain barrier and is without any complications due to long-term foreign body placements. However, for the purposes of the show, the medical and technical jargon utilized serves its purpose to communicate to viewers the elaborate intricacies of Osmosis — which is all we really need to get the plot, I’m just being picky.
Regardless, for those of us with a taste for high-stake drama and tangled relationships, Osmosis will fit your palate. I recommend it to anyone that would enjoy anything with a flair of theatrics like Westworld, an aura of foreboding like Black Mirror, and a bit of romance like Sense8. Best of all, in the end, Osmosis leaves us on somewhat of an unresolved ending, leaving space for us to ponder what could happen next.
Featured image credit: Netflix