By: Jocelyn Knorr
‘Lockwood and Co.,’ a middle-grade children’s book series by the author Jonathan Stroud, is getting a Netflix adaptation. The source material has defied description repeatedly; I have pitched it in the past as “teenagers with swords and an unhealthy lack of respect for the supernatural,” and “Percy Jackson’s goth cousin from across the pond.”
Much more poignant than the middle-grade tag suggests, the series speaks to a past in which the dead—capable of killing with nothing but a touch—have come back to haunt the living. Curfews are enforced across Britain as the ghosts are most dangerous at nightfall, and ghost-hunting agencies have sprung up, desperate to capitalize upon the need for forces to fight the paranormal scourge.
The worst part, to me, is that only children can see them; ergo, thousands have been conscripted into the agencies as a sort of slapdash army, and sent out each night to fight back the dark while the adults sleep safely behind iron-reinforced thresholds. This has all been going on for fifty years when we meet our main character, by the name of Lucy Carlyle.
Lucy is an experienced agent, with a sharp Talent (which is essentially the ability to see and hear ghosts) and seven years of professional experience under her belt. She’s in London, searching for a job after being let go from her previous agency position, when she meets the titular Anthony Lockwood. He—and his friend George—run a tiny independent agency, completely free of adult interference. It is here where most of the series unfolds before us. For spoiler’s sake, I will allow the rest of the plot to remain in obscurity.
The live-action adaptation is coming out near the end of January; it is being directed by Joe Cornish, who also directed ‘Attack the Block’ and ‘The Kid Who Would Be King’. For those who have been scarred by book adaptations in the past—the ‘Percy Jackson’ movies come to mind—have no fear! Jonathan Stroud himself has a consultant role on the show, described in this interview. He’s cautiously optimistic about it—he has described the script as “brilliant,” and was looking forward to visiting the set at the time of the interview.
The 8-episode series is now in post production; ‘Bridgerton’ actress Ruby Stokes has been cast as Lucy Carlyle and Cameron Chapman as Anthony Lockwood. Ali Hadji-Heshemati rounds out the trio as George Karim. Not much else is known at this time, except for a specific release date—the 27th of January, 2023.
I would recommend this show to anyone who enjoys paranormal fiction or suspense stories, as well as fans of the Percy Jackson books. If they stick closely to the source material—and, judging from the official teaser, they will—it promises to have just as much heart, spunk, and action.
- Link to interview: https://booksforkeeps.co.uk/article/man-overboard-an-interview-with-jonathan-stroud/
- Link to Official teaser: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_3rsK1YyPo