ABC Family is one of those channels that has a very fitting name – after all, each series on the show is as predictable as the alphabet. Even its star show on the air, Pretty Little Liars, showcases an antagonist who goes by the name ‘A.’ That is not to say, however, that these shows are bad. ABC Family shows are like chocolate – you know what it tastes like, you know that it’s not good for you, you eat it anyway.
When Stitchers was first released, I took a good look at the newest piece of “chocolate”. The show revolves around Kirsten Clark, Superman’s daughter (just kidding), who was recruited by a secret government agency that “stitches” her mind into the minds of the deceased (I’m serious this time) to solve murder cases. Stitchers is glossy, action-filled, tinged with angsty romance, the typical ABC Family ordeal. The characters are all youthful yet still in positions of extreme power in the conveniently super-secret government agency (so secret it doesn’t have a name). The lead male protagonist has a quiff that rivals Zac Efron’s.
AND YET. The show is pretty good, maybe not Godiva material, but at least Hershey’s kisses kind of stuff. Enough with the vague chocolate metaphors – Stitchers is unique, both in the lead character and the whole “stitching-into-dead-people’s-minds” schtick. But is this all enough?
The scriptwriters of the show pulled a bold move in creating an entirely new illness for Kirsten Clark. She has ‘temporal dysplasia,’ which means that she has no sense of time perception. She is unable to know how long she was “kidnapped” during the first episode, when she was whisked away by the super-secret agency of secrecy. She feels little grief when hearing about her adoptive father’s death, because to her the moment she received the news it “seemed as if he had been dead for a long time.” It is this unique brain-structure that allows Kirsten to serve as the stitcher between the dead and the living.
It sounds gross, but stitching is no zombie-like process. The show might actually have been more interesting if it was, but instead we are dumped with a whole lot of make-believe science and then Kirsten hops into what seems like a human-sized fish tank. Bam – she is inside a dead dude’s mind. Plus, she “has to” wear a tight-fitting, low-cut black body suit (like a onesie for adventurous adults) for this entire process to work.
But aside from the deviation from actual science, the show is pretty scintillating. Kirsten’s temporal dysplasia and lack of strong parental figures has made her fiercely independent and adept at navigating life-threatening situations. Her signature style is a tightly pulled-back blonde ponytail and four gold piercings on one ear. She is very smart, and not afraid to voice her opinions.
Unfortunately, the rest of the characters are rather bland – her roommate and sidekick is like a Kirsten copy minus the attitude, and her two young male colleagues have personalities that were just described previously in this sentence. Kirsten’s boss is the “I own you but I’ll take care of you” type, and the policeman Kirsten recruits (with the help of her weird position of extreme power) is skeptical but lets her do her thing, showcasing the Hollywood lesson that all cops will break the law if it means getting justice.
All in all, Stitchers is a vivid, alluring crime show, but definitely an ABC Family show through and through. The premise has potential, but it is not clear whether this will be enough to demand a second season.