The first season of “NOS4A2” centers on Vic McQueen, played by Ashleigh Cummings, who completely embodies her character. She is a teenager, who helps her mother earn money by cleaning houses. Additionally, Vic is a very talented artist, who wants to attend RISD (The Rhode Island School of Design). Besides being a talented artist, unbeknownst to her, she possesses a special ability; Vic is a ‘strong creative,’ as it is referred to on the series, one of a select few. She discovers her power, while fleeing into the woods, on her motorcycle, to get away from her parents, her alcoholic father, Chris (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) and her pessimistic mother, Linda (Virginia Kull), who are fighting, yet again. Vic discovers a bridge; the discovery wouldn’t be that big a deal, if not for the fact, that the bridge was demolished years earlier, because it was deemed too dangerous to ride over. The bridge, which will come to be referred to as ‘the shorter way,’ is known among those who have Vic’s abilities as an ‘inscape.’ The bridge allows Vic to travel, virtually anywhere she needs to, in order to retrieve things that are missing. What begins with her locating her mother’s lost credit card, evolves over time, into something much bigger than Vic could’ve ever envisioned.
Vic is not the only character with magical powers in “NOS4A2;” her polar opposite, the enigmatic, Charlie Manx, portrayed by Emmy nominee Zachary Quinto (Star Trek: Into Darkness), also possess special abilities. Manx drives a 1938 Rolls Royce Wraith, which he seemingly can’t live without. He and the car are bound together. For example, if the car has a problem that needs fixing, Manx’s health will deteriorate. The longer the car is out of commission, the worse Manx will get. Manx is also the proprietor of a place called ‘Christmasland,’ which sounds magical, and in many respects is, but there is a steep price that needs to be paid in order to maintain it for the children who he brings there. The children Manx lures to ‘Christmasland,’ with promises of candy and toys, are for the most part ignored by their parents. Manx is not doing anything for altruistic reasons, but like the car, he needs to metaphorically feed off of the souls of the children, in order to maintain his own mortality; it is an interesting take on the traditional vampire story. When Manx feeds, he becomes younger looking, and the children he kidnaps, take on a more monstrous appearance, replete with sharp fangs for teeth. (As an aside: Like Manx, even though Vic is a force for good, the more she uses her power, the weaker she becomes).
Vic has a very small circle of friends, in her town of Haverhill, Massachusetts. One of those friends is Craig (Dalton Harrod), who has a crush on her. Additionally, Vic likes, and shares her artistic talents with the high school janitor, Bing Partridge (Ólafur Darri Ólafsson). Bing might seem at first to be a good natured oaf, but he’s hiding a dark secret from his past, that would have people view him differently if they knew the truth about his background. He’s also rather gullible and easily manipulated. When he reads an advertisement to become an employee at ‘Christmasland,’ he jumps at the opportunity. He will come to be of great service to Manx, as the first season of the series plays out during its ten episodes.
As the first season progresses, Vic will find an ally, in Maggie (Jahkara Smith), who is another ‘strong creative.’ She is a librarian, living and working in Iowa, who, like Vic, has problems with her parents. Maggie is looked after by the head of her town’s law enforcement, Sheriff Bly (Chris McKinney), who acts as a surrogate father toward her. The disappearance of one of the town’s children, who has been kidnapped by Manx, someone whom Maggie is close to, is what initially leads her to Vic, in order to seek Vic’s help in locating the missing child. Maggie learns of Vic’s existence, because of her gift. She is in possession of a scrabble bag, that when she asks questions out loud, the scrabble tiles, that she pulls out of the bag, spell out the answer to her questions.
Vic feels overwhelmed, and rightfully so, by her new powers. She has been searching for a way out of her town, and an escape from the dread of living a dead end life, but her abilities have brought her more than she bargained for. Still, Vic is a good person, and she’s not about to let Manx continue what he has been doing for decades, without putting up a fight. Will she be successful in stopping Manx? What price will she have to pay, if she does succeed?
The series is an adaptation of bestselling author Joe Hill’s novel of the same name. “NOSA42 was published by William Morrow and Company on April 30, 2013. The series premiered on March 11, 2019 at the South by Southwest Film Festival, before debuting on AMC (American Movie Classics) on June 2, 2019. Parts drama, fantasy, horror and mystery, each episode has an approximate runtime of 60 minutes. The first season garnered strong ratings for AMC, prompting the network to renew the series for a second season. As of the writing of this post, season 2 will begin filming this fall, and premiere sometime next year.