Counterpart is an interesting program, but halfway through, I’m not yet sure if it’s a good one.

JK Simmons, who’s had a lifetime toiling in semi-obscurity in supporting roles, really shines as the lead here, playing a man who has to deal with the “counterpart” version of himself in a parallel universe to avoid catastrophe.  They both married the same woman – one marriage was happy, the other not – and the two characters differ in other ways that are more difficult to discern.

The supporting cast is really strong here – In particular, Liv Lisa Fries (the female lead In Babylon Berlin) makes the most of her small part.  But many of the characters seem underwritten, and the science fiction plot too often veers from the merely impossible to the ludicrously implausible.

The series does have some interesting things to say about what differentiates  us as human beings.  What makes two characters with identical genetic profiles seem so different – life experiences, world events, or just chance encounters with other people?  Why does one counterpart like poetry, while the other can’t be bothered? And despite all these differences, are the two counterparts in some fundamental way nevertheless the same?   It’s thought provoking, and you might find it worth watching, despite its flaws.

Originally produced for Starz, it’s now streaming for free On Amazon Prime.

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