The Power review: Naomi Alderman adaptation is electrifying
Toni Collette and John Leguizamo's new series is rich and ambitiously faithful.
Prime Video's The Power has passed the most difficult test of adapting a beloved novel, especially when it comes to sci-fi and fantasy - it's not rushed in the slightest.
Naomi Alderman's novel is well-loved around the world for a multitude of reasons, not least the rich world-building and diverse array of characters presented to us.
The new Prime Video series, starring Toni Collette, John Leguizamo and Eddie Marsan among a spectacular ensemble cast, hasn't just done that side of it justice - it's managed to enhance it.
The sci-fi epic sees teenage girls across the globe wake up with the power of electricity at their fingertips, with the world suddenly getting used to the idea of women being the more powerful sex.
It follows various characters all across the world, including an American mayor (Toni Collette) who grapples with the situation in politics, the English daughter (Ria Zmitrowicz) of a gangster (Eddie Marsan), who has more power than she knows how to handle, a young Nigerian journalist (Toheeb Jimoh) documenting the new world, and many more.
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Where other series have attempted to cover too much in one season, jam-packing in important events and even leaving out essential character development to their detriment, The Power only covers about a third of the book, focusing on introducing us to all the key players and their development, as well as what this brave new world really means.
There are also new characters, who enhance the story even further - a prominent one being the introduction of Ndudi (Heather Agyepong) who massively complicates Jimoh's character. We also get more backstory from the most interesting characters – most of all, Tatiana Moskalev (Zrinka Cvitesic) the wife the President of Moldova.
While that might sound like you're in for a slower-paced series, that's certainly not the case. The Power takes that level of detail and runs with it, providing a rich, action-packed and enthralling ride that will have fans clamouring for more seasons.
Of course, there will be discussions about the timeliness of the series. While some moments are a little on the nose, The Power – led by Alderman's writing – covers important discussions from the dangerous impact of certain online forums to men's activists, to bodily autonomy, to the state of politics right now, and more.
Covering those topics well is no easy feat but it must partly come down to The Power being such a female-led production, something that's still pretty rare in major TV shows and films. Alderman was heavily involved in the series, with co-writers including Sarah Quintrell and Claire Wilson, while directors included Ugla Hauksdóttir and Lisa Gunning.
As the more experienced stars on the series, Collette, Leguizamo and Marsan are a joy to watch but it's the younger actors, including Ted Lasso's Jimoh (Tunde), and Moana star Auli'i Cravalho (Jos) as well as actresses Zmitrowicz (Roxy), Cvitešić (Tatiana) and Agyepong (Ndudi) that bring the series together.
There are a couple of quibbles to make - the effects could be better in some scenes, making some of those moments a little jarring rather than shocking, and a few of the sequences that clearly reference the state of world affairs could perhaps do with a little more subtlety.
But, ultimately, The Power is a well thought out, ambitiously faithful, refreshing and electrifying new offering. Fingers crossed for season 2.
The Power episodes 1 to 3 will be released on Prime Video on 31st March with new episodes dropping weekly afterwards – sign up for a 30-day free Prime Video trial and pay £8.99 a month after that.