On Netflix: Bonding

Bonding. Kinda like bondage, you see. Because Tiff is a college student by day but she makes ends meet by being a dominatrix in the evening, and she needs to rely on her friend Pete. Who is gay, repressed and needs, with everything the euphemism implies, a helping hand to put himself forward into the world. This is how you find yourself in the twenty-first century.

All that said, deviant sexual practice has never seemed so cherry pie. Bonding is a sweet-natured teen-esque friendship series disguised as something darker. Which may make it the most radical thing to pop up on my screen in a while, or may, possibly at the same time, make it just too vanilla to be worthwhile. Either way, what’s not deniable, is the simple gusto with which the cast enter into the spirit of it all.

It also looks brilliant. There aren’t many series where so many shots, in particular the ones in which the dominatrix scenarios play out, look clever and funny just by characters pose whilst they wait. But whether it’s a man in a penguin suit anticipating fun or a woman who’s not sure how to ask for activities for her husband, the mise en scene is spot on.

As said, that look, combined with the central performances from Zoe Levin as Tiff and Brendan Scannell as Carter is why you’ll keep coming back. That plus the fact that as this is a Netflix series there’s no need to keep to network-friendly run times or episode quantities so there are seven shows of ‘about fifteen minutes’ each. Nothing outstays its welcome and, so far, we’re mercifully free of completely pointless retro/origin episodes to pad anything out.

If there’s going to be more then Rightor Doyle (writer and Executive Producer) may need to dig deeper for plot, which presents the danger of taking the fun out of it all. For now, though, Bonding is an enjoyable example of the good stuff coming out of Netflix right now.

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