SHINING GIRLS on Apple TV+ is a new series in the thriller, crime, and mystery genres. It stars Elisabeth Moss in the lead role with Jamie Bell as a time-traveling serial killer. So, yeah, there’s also a nice touch of sci-fi in this story. And it works. Read our full Shining Girls season 1 review here!
SHINING GIRLS is a new Apple TV+ series starring Elisabeth Moss and Jamie Bell in the two key roles. It’s a thriller, crime, mystery, sci-fi hybrid of a series. The plot involves shifting realities and time travel, so you’ll get plenty of “bang for your buck” when you watch this. Sure, it can be a little tricky at first, but you’ll catch on quickly.
It’s not any kind of classic bodyswap or time-travel deal (both of which you’ll experience in the new Netflix series The 7 Lives of Léa), but it does work remarkably well. Also, you’ll get the three first episodes (there are 8 in the season), so you have plenty of time to get the hang of it.
Continue reading our Shining Girls season 1 review below. You’ll find the three first episodes on Apple TV+ from April 29, 2022.
A time-traveling serial killer
The main character is Kirby Mazrachi (Elisabeth Moss) and every day she writes down basic facts about her life in a notebook that she keeps close. Sometimes she has a dog, other times a cat. But still with the same name. One day she’s living with her mother (Amy Brenneman), the next she’s been married to a colleague for years. Yet she works at the same newspaper in both versions of her life.
In other words, some key elements of her life remain the same while others change drastically.
How is all this possible? Well, her character is trapped in a constantly shifting reality that began after a brutal attack that nearly killed her. The “constantly shifting”-part means her world can change in the middle of a conversation.
Suddenly, she’ll look at herself in the mirror and her hair had gone from short to long. Or in the middle of a medical exam, the doctor will go from being a woman to a man. It’s both crazy and brilliant. However, when a new murder victim shows up, and Kirby recognizes that it must be the same killer who tried to kill her, she starts going after him. It turns out she was far from the first victim of his.
Investigative reporting in the 1990s
The main story plays out in the 1990s which is rather important since it means you can’t just Google things. Instead, the story involves some good ol’ detective work. Not done by police detectives, but rather by investigative reporters. Something that still happens today, of course. These days, it also happens via podcasts where podcasters sometimes make a break in a case that is then solved.
Since Kirby doesn’t actually work as a reporter – but has all the necessary insight the case requires – she teams up with someone who is working as a reporter for the newspaper where they both work. His name is Dan (Narco‘s Wagner Moura) and he has lots of issues of his own. For one, he drinks. A lot!
Still, the two start looking at cold cases which eventually breaks the case wide open.
As the man who tried to kill her, we see Jamie Bell who is absolutely brilliant in the role. Kirby has never seen her attacker, but she knows his voice. He is good at remaining unseen when he needs to. Also, he’s a man who lives outside of conventional chronological time and essentially stalks his victims by way of time travel.
While Kirby knows that something out of the ordinary is happening (due to experiencing shifts in her own reality), she isn’t sure what’s going on either. However, she is obviously much quicker to accept that something supernatural is going on.
Watch Shining Girls on Apple TV+
The creator of Shining Girls is Silka Luisa and it’s based on the novel by South-African author Lauren Beukes. Previously, Silka Luisa worked on the Paramount+ series Strange Angel (2018) and Halo (2022). The directors working on this Apple TV+ series include Elisabeth Moss, Michelle MacLaren (The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones), and Daina Reed (The Outsider, Helstrom).
Both Elisabeth Moss (The Handmaid’s Tale) and Jamie Bell (Snowpiercer) deliver really strong performances, which makes the story come together. I am so fascinated by Jamie Bell in this role where he can switch from being charming to classic psycho in a heartbeat. Interestingly, this is something women also react to and even call his character out on. Not that it helps much in the end.
If you enjoy crime thrillers with a mystery that includes something supernatural from the world of sci-fi, then make sure you check this out on Apple TV+ as soon as you get the chance.
Shining Girls is out on Apple TV+ with the first 3 episodes from April 29, 2022. The remaining five episodes will be released weekly on Fridays with the final episode airing on June 3, 2022.
Showrunner: Silka Luisa
Stars: Elisabeth Moss, Jamie Bell, Wagner Moura, Amy Brenneman, Phillipa Soo
Years after a brutal attack left her in a constantly shifting reality, Kirby Mazrachi learns that a recent murder is linked to her assault. She teams with veteran reporter Dan Velazquez to understand her ever-changing present and confront her past.