A horror-comedy about an evil baby who kills everyone it comes across? The Baby has a premise that screams the kind of horror schlock you expect to find on Shudder rather than a show made in collaboration with HBO. But this is one of the best TV shows of the year.
Natasha (Michelle de Swarte, brilliant in only her second acting role) is feeling put out when all of her friends start to have children as she just wants things to continue to be the same.
She takes a break to an isolated cabin underneath a cliff to clear her mind when – splat – a woman falls from a cliff followed by a baby who Natasha, incredibly, catches in her arms. Problem is now she can’t get rid of it and every time she tries to someone ends up dead. Eek.
The Baby belongs to the kind of horror that Jordan Peele has popularised: the social-horror. It’s scary, sure, but it also has something to say.
The Baby is about motherhood and care-giving in all its forms. It wryly looks at how a baby can take over your life and leaves you feeling like nothing you do is right to the point where you just want to scream – but it also looks at the pressure on woman who have decided against having children and how they impose themselves on their lives anyway.
It’s about family structures torn apart and how new families can be formed in the unlikeliest of circumstances. It’s about choice and the brutal lack thereof. Heck it’s even about queer love stories in the 1960s. There’s a whole heap bubbling away under the surface.
But you can overthink these things and, most importantly, The Baby is riotously good fun. Each episode is a taut 30-minutes almost always ending with a huge cliffhanger (often one I didn’t see coming) begging you to watch one more episode.
It’s filled with blood and gore and some brilliant jump scares. The writing is incredibly sharp (with punchy one-liners from a game supporting cast) and Michelle de Swarte is fantastically funny as she tries to figure out whether this baby is trying to kill her or if she’s losing her mind.
Plus you can’t underestimate the real charm of a horror where the evil presence is an adorable baby who just smiles and laughs most of the time. Make sure you don’t leave The Baby in the corner, then – this show deserves your attention.
The Baby airs on Sky Atlantic on Thursdays at 9pm.