TO THE LAKE is a new Netflix series about an unknown virus. It’s a Russian production (org. title Epidemiya) and yes, it does feel all-too-familiar in many ways. Also, the characters are interesting and the story is very engaging from episode 1. Read our To the Lake review here!
TO THE LAKE is a new Netflix series from Russia. To me, this is definitely the best Russian production I’ve watched on Netflix so far. In fact, in terms of quality, it is right up there with the Russian sci-fi horror movie Sputnik which I highly recommend checking out.
Recommended reading: Our review of the sci-fi horror movie Sputnik >
I expected the story to be interesting but didn’t have any expectations beyond that. However, from the very first few minutes, I felt confident that this would be more than that. After watching just the first episode, I was hooked. Both due to the storyline and circumstances, but – even more so – due to the characters.
Continue reading our To the Lake review below and check out season 1 on Netflix now.
Art continues to imitate life – or vice versa!
The original title of this series is Epidemiya which sounds an awful lot like “epidemic” which is exactly what it’s all about. From the very first episode, the events that unfold do feel all-too-familiar by now. However, this series first aired in Russia in September 2019.
In other words, while it might seem like To the Lake is about the current pandemic, it wasn’t even a thing when this series premiered.
For me, To the Lake managed to create a moment that instilled absolute fear within the first half of episode one. A child is infected at a school and the way this is handled is terrifying. Especially for the actual child – and no, it isn’t some brutal extermination, but the fear on that child’s face speaks volumes.
You’ll see. I certainly knew at that point, that this series would not be holding back. And yes, this does include criticizing the way the government handles the outbreak. This series is in no way about politics or nationalism. It’s about humanity and survival as human beings. For better and for the very worse!
Come for the plot, stay for the characters
I doubt you’ll be familiar with many of the actors in To the Lake. However, if you’ve checked out the Netflix series Better than Us, which is all about AIs, then you might recognize the lead actor. His name is Kirill Käro and in To the Lake, he portrays Sergey (or Sergei).
Also, the actress Maryana Spivak plays Irina (or just “Ira”) in this Netflix series, and she’s been in a few international movie successes. She has a small role in the movie Yesterday (2019). Also, she played the lead role in the Russian movie Loveless (2017) which was nominated for an Academy Award, Golden Globe, BAFTA, and even won the Jury Prize at Cannes Film Festival.
Still, it doesn’t matter if you know any of these actors. You’ll probably want to check out this new Netflix series for the plot, but the characters will be what you stay around for. Obviously, this means that the actors are doing their job very well.
Watch season 1 of To the Lake on Netflix now!
Season 1 of the To the Lake series was directed by Pavel Kostomarov. In the past, he has made a lot of documentaries but nothing I’m familiar with. He also works as a cinematographer and is actually filming a new TV series right now in that capacity. A horror-thriller called Dead Mountain that sounds very intriguing.
The series is based on the 2011 book “Vongozero” written by author Yana Vagner (also known as Jana Vagner). The writer of this TV series adaption is Roman Kantor. The writer and director of this Netflix series also made a 2019 movie based on this book. It was called Vongosero: The Outbreak (org. title Epidemiya. Vongozero) which was released in Russia in April of 2019.
In terms of writing for TV series, Roman Kantor also created the series The Dead Lake which is described as a “Slavic Noir” and compared to Twin Peaks. Admittedly, I’m pretty curious about this series now that I’ve started watching To the Lake.
Season 1 has eight episodes that are between 45-55 minutes, so there’s plenty of storylines to get through. Obviously, some of the plot developments along the way will irritate you. People always make stupid decisions which is something we know all-too-well from other series dealing with an apocalyptic world.
All episodes of To the Lake (Epidemiya) season 1 are on Netflix from October 7, 2020.
Director: Pavel Kostomarov
Stars: Kirill Käro, Maryana Spivak, Viktoriya Agalakova, Viktoriya Isakova
Facing the end of civilization when a terrifying plague strikes, a group risks their lives, loves — and humanity — in a brutal struggle to survive.