Netflix’s newly released supernatural thriller series “Locke & Key” is turning heads, and possibly even opening them.
Inspired by the “Locke & Key” comic written by Joe Hill and illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez, the series has been in development for nearly 10 years. “Locke & Key” was originally intended for the Fox Broadcast Network and was screened at the San Diego Comic-Con in 2011. Ultimately, setbacks from the network prevented the show from airing, and the show was granted new executive directors in 2014. The series premiered on Netflix on Feb. 7, 2020 and is receiving great praise from audiences, many of whom are comparing it to the largely successful 2019 Netflix series “The Umbrella Academy.”
Following the murder of patriarch Rendell Locke, the series follows the remaining Locke family members to Matheson, MA where the secrets of Rendell’s mysterious past begin to emerge. The focal point of this strange heritage is the Locke family home, which has been nicknamed “Key House” by the townspeople. The Gothic architecture and archetypal taxidermy in the estate encaptures the interest of the Locke children: Tyler, Kinsey and, in particular, young Bode. The children, unbeknown to the world of magic prior to their arrival in Matheson, soon realize that they possess the ability to locate keys hidden throughout the house. These magical keys, among other things, allow the children to enter into their own minds by means of a curious passageway. However—like every classic magical television drama—the children soon realize that they are not the only ones longing to discern the potential of these keys. Complete with demons, rocky road ice cream and curious tattoos, this 10 episode season sends viewers on a chilling hunt to unlock the truth hidden in “Key House.”
On top of providing audiences with a unique interpretation of the supernatural, “Locke & Key” has also been praised for the casting choices. One of the series’ main characters Rufus Whedon, the endearing autistic groundskeeper of “Key House,” was played by Coby Bird, an autistic actor. Bird took to Twitter to express his excitement with landing the role.
“Being Autistic myself, I was so honored to play this role. Rufus is just who he is, Rufus. He has a job and cares about the people around him” Bird said.
The decision to cast Bird made by the casting crew of “Locke & Key,” speaks to the larger issue in the film industry where able-bodied actors are often selected to portray characters with mental or physical impairments. From Tom Hanks’ role in “Forrest Gump” to Freddie Highmore’s role in “The Good Doctor,” able-bodied Hollywood actors have historically been praised for their performances of disabled characters. While Bird was not chosen solely to increase diversity, his authentic portrayal of an autisic character helps raise awareness.
As the first season of “Locke & Key” concludes with a cliff-hanger ending, viewers are left speculating the fate of the show. As of yet, Netflix has not renewed the show for a second season. However, it is not uncommon for Netflix to wait at least a month from a show’s release date before unleashing information about the renewal status. Despite this fact, “Locke & Key” writers have already begun to make preparations for season two.
During an interview with Collider, co-executive producer Carlton Cuse said that the possibility of a second season is promising.
“We’re in the middle of writing season two, so we’re optimistic and hopeful that we’re gonna get a chance to make season two,” Cuse said. “We very much know what it is because Meredith [co-executive producer] and I are in the middle of overseeing the writers’ room and we’re working on that right now.”
Regardless of whether “Locke & Key” gets a shot at a second season, the possibility of magical keys remains both intriguing and dangerous. If you held the key to unlock your mind, would you use it?