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TV Eye: The Booth At The End


Fan of Black Mirror? The Twilight Zone? In the very first of a new series, TV Eye, Stevie Lennox looks at one of Netflix’s more engrossing darkly propositions, The Booth At The End.

I’m a junkie for a show that blurs the lines of morality and asks the big questions  – think The Twilight Zone, Black Mirror, Utopia. If any of those names stand out to you, The Booth At The End is your new jam – for about five hours, at least. At this point, there are only two five-episode seasons available with promises of a more ambitious third season on the way, so it’s an easy watch, and the pacing of the show is such that you’ll barely realise you even started. Each season could run as a feature length – and by all means, binge-watch this show.

The premise is simple. Ridiculously so. Someone wants something; they visit a nameless diner in a nameless town and express their desire to the man in the booth at the end. He’ll consult the old, leather-bound book that rests at his side, and assign them a task to complete. This task can vary wildly, from case to case. It’s one of those shows that would work equally well as a radio series; As the action never visually moves beyond the diner, it’s as much a teleplay, but Xander Berkeley and his cohorts’ acting chops make it the worthwhile visual endeavour that it is.

Without giving anything away, the story of each visitor to the booth is easily identifiable to most, and the devil (or god – the show’s moral compass is transient, perpetually in a grey area) is in the details. The Man needs to hear the context of his client’s problem, and most importantly, their motivations. They’ll continually return with their progress and thoughts on the task, and this explanation of their thought processes lends a tremendous humanisation to the show.

The dialogue is unique in this, the era heralded as television’s Official New Golden Age, in its ability to create – in the mind’s eye – the scene described by each client. Its awareness of the human condition – and perhaps its keen interest in the chaos theory – saves it from patronisation and predictability, taking the focus off the mystery as to why the Man is there – for now – placing it instead upon simply really strong content, taking some cues from the kitchen sink realism school of screenwriting.

Sure, it’s a weird time to recommend a show that’s just between seasons, but it’s the kind of show that creates a cultish ‘WATCH THIS NOW’ aura of devotion for the aforementioned kinds of Twilight Zoners who love to obsess, making it well worth at least a cursory glance. Stevie Lennox

The Booth At The End is streaming now on Netflix


is Gig Guide Editor & guitarist/vocalist with Junk Drawer, PigsAsPeople & Sister Ghost. Appreciator of Neil Young, vinyl, black coffee, Richard Linklater, light & shade.