Lockwood & Co. Book series (and TV show)
April 19, 2023 11:50 AM - Subscribe

There is an epidemic of ghosts in Britain. Their touch brings death, and only children have the power to fight them. Lucy Carlyle, a young psychic investigator, joins London's smallest agency, run by the charismatic Anthony Lockwood and his ever-hungry assistant George Cubbins. Together the trio must investigate some of the spookiest and deadliest spectral hauntings in the city, armed only with the tools of the ghost-hunting trade (magnesium flares, iron filings, chains and salt bombs), their courage and a thermos of tea. Ghosts and ghouls beware!

I started reading the books after watching the recent Netflix show. I'm enjoying it so far. Except... what the hell is going on with all the fatphobia? It's so unnecessary! It feels like George hasn't got any character traits other than being fat. Even the description (above) from the writer's website describes him as "ever-hungry."

I half expect the equivalent of "She breasted boobily to the stairs". "The donut-smeared fatty took a guzzling greedy step towards the ghost"?

Other than this the book is a fun read, but I really appreciate that the TV show cut all that crap out.
posted by EllaEm (6 comments total)
I've watched the first 3 episodes of the show and am enjoying it so far; it doesn't sound like I need to bother with the books though.
posted by Marticus at 6:49 PM on April 19, 2023

I really enjoyed this show. It's like, as a society, we have a lot of issues, but at this point in our civilization we are getting pretty good at making TV shows where teens fight ghosts. This is a solid B+ kinda show. The setting is good; the 20th century stalled out by worldwide supernatural shenanigans is a solid concept.

Thanks for the notes about the book, EllaEm. I got to the end of season 1 and considered diving into the books because of the way I as invested in the story. Sounds like I made a good call not to. I hope the show is renewed and we get a whole story eventually.
posted by Rinku at 6:52 PM on April 19, 2023 [3 favorites]

I enjoyed the books, there's a good mystery in there, and there's a lot of great images and scenes that have really stuck in my head. The descriptions of George are unfortunate, but I don't think they ruin the books (ymmv) and he gets a lot more depth as the series goes on. I do hope that they keep making the show, because there are some scenes I'd really like to see on the screen.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 8:44 PM on April 19, 2023 [1 favorite]

I'm also diving into the books after having watched the show, and I think there are a couple of ways the show actually improved from the books (in addition to losing the fatphobia.)

One is that the show made it much clearer how traumatic Lucy's pre-London ghost hunting experience was, where her entire team died, largely because the adult supervising them made bad decisions and then froze. Compared to the show, the books feel a little "la di dah" about it. Lucy's character makes more sense when it's clear she just a kid who had something really truly horrible and terrifying happen to her at a very young age.

The show also tones down the extent of Lucy's crush on Lockwood. Not to be all 6-year-old "eewww what's this mushy stuff? Is there gonna be kissing? Yuck!" but there's certainly plenty of YA shows & books (especially with young women protagonists) where the focus becomes the romance or potential romance rather than the adventures and skills of the characters. Nothing wrong with a little unrequited love or some smooching, but there's definitely points in the books where Lucy's kind of close to clichéd flouncy pouty jealous when Lockwood interacts with other women or girls.
posted by soundguy99 at 7:15 AM on April 20, 2023 [1 favorite]

I really enjoyed the show, like, a lot! I even rewatched it which is rare for me. I also enjoyed the book series, which was even more unexpected, because I do not like YA ever.

The whole series is Lucy's third person POV, I think, and she can be kinda shitty about other people. I still really disliked her fatphobia and her jealousy, and had no use for it, but I do undertsand it a bit as Lucy's weaknesses.

I don't have high hopes of the show being renewed by Netflix and that makes me pretty sad, as I would love to see more with this cast and see the character development for The Skull and so on.

As a knitter, I may or may not have Googled "lockwood and co knitwear patterns" a few times in hopes of finding patterns for a few of Lucy's sweaters.
posted by See you tomorrow, saguaro at 2:35 PM on April 20, 2023 [1 favorite]

I really really liked the books because they are tightly narrated in Lucy’s voice and she is an unreliable narrator because she’s a traumatized solitary teenager in a shit world. Her infatuation with Lockwood is hilarious, speaking as someone who has been an infatuated teenager. The fat phobia is all her and on rereading I think it’s an expression of jealousy, though unreliable!. Shitty, presumably in her world as well as ours. But I don’t think anyone but her brings it up, it’s not a frame the world building relies on.

The other half of what I love about her narration is that she’s also unaware when she does stone terrifying physically heroic things. I thought the TV show weakened that, made me angry. Well, mostly it made me stop watching. How are they doing with Flo?
posted by clew at 5:18 PM on April 25, 2023

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