Netflix’s Signs Review: A Decent Ending Can’t Save this Boring Series

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Signs, or Polish: Znaki, is a crime/thriller series on Netflix which stars Andrzej Konopka, Helena Sujecka, Magdalena Zak, Piotr Trojan and Miroslaw Kropielnicki. The series originally aired on AXN in 2018, but is now going for a wider release, courtesy of Netflix.

Too complicated

Signs starts off with new police commander Michal Trela who is faced with a challenge when a woman turns up dead in a quaint town in Own Mountains. The crime shares similarities with a murder which took place 10 years ago and he and fellow officer Adrianna Nieradka try to solve the case, come what may.

While the plot does sound exciting, with murder cases sharing similarities decades apart, but Signs will leave you dissatisfied and bored. The central murder plot is exciting, don’t get me wrong. There’s a lot that could’ve been done here, and the reveal of the murderer provides some respite in an otherwise borefest of a series. Although the reveal can be predicted early-on in the series if you’re diligent enough, yet it’s still shocking.

Signs
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But that’s it. Signs depends on that trope where everything that is going on is connected one way or the other. However, for that to happen, you need to have multiple plots. And boy does the series have an insane number of subplots. There’s the murder, there’s a crazy amount of religious fanaticism, there’s WWII-era people (for some reason), there’s teen angst, there’s cheating and we also focus on a priest for far too long. With the sheer number of things going on here, it’s no wonder that the plot meanders way too many times, making it difficult to remember, and ultimately boring.

It’s difficult to keep track of who’s who and after the first episode, I lost interest in the plot completely. Sure, I wanted to know who ultimately committed the crime, but there was too much going on for me to concentrate. There are not a lot of shows that can pull-off plot twists like Dark. Also, it doesn’t help that the first season ends with a 5-second clip of the reveal. We don’t get closure on the subject after watching 8 45-minutes-long episodes. That’s mainly because a second season is already out in Poland. But come on. Give us something to work with!

Signs

Other than that, I think I quite enjoyed the beautiful Gory Sowie landscapes of Poland. It’s calming and peaceful, and seems like a perfect place for a small town to hold a lot of secrets. Andrzej Konopka as Commissioner Michal Trela is enjoyable as well, with his grumpy attitude and sometimes extremely rude behaviour.

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The biggest fault of Signs is probably how many subplots it just forgets to tie off in the end. The WWII subplot, for example, we never get to know an end of. Did the priest find out who the killer is? Why was he running around with a camera? What happens to Targosz? We don’t know. And after a while, we don’t care either.

Summing up: Signs

Signs

Signs tries the formula of creating several subplots and twisting and turning them until we are surprised at the end. However, while creating the insane number of plots, the series loses the audience somewhere and that results in a boring (and sometimes confusing) 8-episode run. There’s a lack of tension throughout, and even when it does pop-up, it’s too less to provide the necessary push. There’s too much going on, with too-little explanation. Even with the surprise reveal at the end, it’s not worth the almost 8-hours you spend binging this.

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Signs is streaming on Netflix right now.

Read our other reviews here.

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REVIEW OVERVIEW

Acting
Story
Direction

SUMMARY

Netflix's Signs tries really hard to imbibe tension with its quaint town and mysterious people. But its insane number of plot twists are what causes it to crash and burn. And the fact that it forgets about some of those plots.

13 COMMENTS

  1. I think the sub-plots strewn throughout the main story are there to suggest that there will be something for them to do in the next season. What is the drug-addled cult about? Why the bizarre friendship between nice Nina and psychotic Agata (having Nina be a lesbian doesn’t explain it; lesbians aren’t necessarily attracted to vicious bullies)? What about the anti-gravity machine? I enjoyed the landscape and atmosphere of it.

  2. Some of the characters should have just about smoked themselves to death by the end. Watching the Polish actors being English dubbed is a bit amusing at times, and I think distracts from what is probably a much better show when watched in Polish. Appears to be some over acting at times, but again it may be, due to the dubbing.

  3. Great show. Clearly not for people who can only enjoy clearcut detective stories or American CSI. The second series is even weirder. It will be compared to David Lynch, but it’s much better. A tv series is or should be much more than just a story.

  4. Watched it on Mhtx in DC Metro area…I replayed the ending of episode Eight 5 times as I could not believe it was the ending episode of season 1.
    It was very annoying…I saw no denoument at all. I have no idea of the reveal. What happened? Very, very annoyed !

  5. We were waiting for the BIG reveal and was dissaponted that it didn’t tie everything up. You are right about too many subplots and not knowing what was connected to the story.

  6. I’ve watched other Polish shows which were better, but this one was okay. I always enjoy the twists and turns and multiple subplots in similar shows, but this one was a bit lacking. I really wanted to like it and I did enjoy much of it, including the characters. I felt like opportunities were missed to make it flow a bit better and pull me deeper into the story. Maybe season 2 will bring it together? I hope so! Side note, I cannot imagine why people would opt for dubbing when subtitles allow the the grit and true acting to remain.

  7. I agree about the subtitles. I always watch in natural language with English subtitles. The native language lets you truly here the emotion come through.

  8. I’m nearly at the end of the second episode, and really enjoying it. I like the acting, the characters, and the natural pacing of events. I am fed up with contrived thrillers where impending schlock horror and violence are the norm to keep people shocked/hooked. I’d much rather have a bit of mystery/history, and the nuance and realism that seems to emerge with subplots. It makes the journey worth it, for me. I often feel like I’ve wasted time on thrillers with that need to invent ludicrous bit reveals.

  9. Binge watched both seasons – I generally like European crime dramas and the first season was good, but the second season to me was confusing and did not have an ending. Too much jumping around from the past to the current and I still don’t have a clue what happened – maybe season 3 will clear it up for me.

  10. I likev it and I’m on the fourth episode. But whoever remarked about the smoking. I did want a cigarette and I havent smoked in 25 years. Lol

  11. I also utterly disagree with the reviewer. There is nothing boring or complicated about the series. All subplots are super interesting. Great actors although none of them are famous in Poland. I haven’t seen any of them but Jonasz anywhere else.

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