High Tides (Original title: Knokke Off) is a Belgian series starring Willem De Schryver as Alexander Vandael, Pommelien Thijs as Louise Basteyns, Eliyha Altena as Daan, Manouk Pluis as Anouk, Ayana Doucouré as Margaux, Kes Bakker as Matti, Jef Hellemans as Victor, Emma Moortgat as Emilie Basteyns, Anna Drijver as Melissa, Ruth Becquart as Eleonore, Geert Van Rampelberg as Patrick Vandael.
Louise and Alex, a young couple, spend a beautiful summer in Knokke, Belgium, but their opulent lifestyle conceals familial strains and personal troubles. Louise has doubts about her bipolar medication, and Alex is troubled by his family’s history of adultery. Daan and his mother, Melissa, disturb their environment, leading to revelations as buried secrets and true identities are revealed during the stormy summer.
The heroes’ seemingly perfect façade begin to shatter as the story progresses. Louise struggles to manage her bipolar disease and questions the need for her mood-regulating medication. Meanwhile, Alex battles inner demons, trying not to repeat his father’s scandalous deeds regarding Eleanore and her best friend. Knokke’s glitz gradually discloses hidden truths and deceptions. Then there’s Daan, who spent the summers there with her mother.
This sitcom appears to depend heavily on melodrama, resembling a traditional family drama rather than a groundbreaking show. It weaves together a tapestry of tired clichés prevalent in plays based on young characters. Without giving too much away, consider the standard cliches from numerous soap operas or teen-focused series. Its lack of inventiveness made the plot feel fairly predictable.
It continuously conjures parts of the Spanish drama Elite throughout the play, emphasising on the contrast between the affluent and the less privileged. Daan, the guy from a lower-income family, strives to adapt into the lavish lifestyle by befriending Alex. The series typically concentrates around parties, drug usage, and love entanglements, with predictable plotlines that offer little variety.
The plot takes several unbelievable turns, pushing the borders of belief. Instances such as a mother obtaining a gun during the search for her sister created issues about its purpose and led to confusing actions such as casually flaunting it. Furthermore, the rapid transition of a mere concept into a fully realised huge disco within a week seemed implausible, lacking the realistic bureaucratic and logistical processes that such a project would necessitate. This rapid development by a small group of wealthy children contrasted sharply with the reality of what would take a team of professionals months to complete.
It appears to be tailored to teenagers’ and young adults’ tastes, ticking off a checklist of elements: attractive protagonists, tangled romantic relationships, struggles with substance abuse, a character navigating a disorder, the dichotomy between opulent and modest lifestyles, and other familiar themes. I was intrigued to the series primarily by my interest about a particular mystery. Its visual appeal, which featured gorgeous and picturesque settings as well as an appealing ensemble cast, was a tempting factor when other entertainment options appeared to be lacking.
One noteworthy aspect is the series’ magnificent surroundings, which provide a visual feast that captivates the audience. Furthermore, the acting, particularly by Alexander and Louise, exceeded the norms for this genre. Their performances elevated crucial passages, adding dimension to an otherwise mundane plot.
I wouldn’t say the episodes are completely unwatchable, but it might have been much better with a larger emphasis on the anticipation around Daan’s mother’s arrival in town. Investigating this issue further would have increased the show’s curiosity and sustained viewer attention. However, even before the announcement, it had become predictable. While respecting the genre’s proclivity for suspending disbelief, the series stretched this tolerance to its breaking point. While the resolution provided light on prior occurrences, it left important details unanswered, particularly regarding the cover-up of key incidences. The gun’s final appearance in the plot felt forced and ludicrous.