The sequence unfolds over a sequence of days in 1993, 1994 and 1995, briskly oscillating amongst them in every episode — as occasions transfer alongside, remaining a yr or two aside — whereas dropping clue after clue in a sequence of mysteries.
On the core of all of it is Jeanette (Chiara Aurelia), a shy woman with braces once we first meet her on her fifteenth birthday, a assured and reworked one a yr later, and a dour determine below suspicion by the police the yr after that. Her destiny is inextricably tied to that of Kate (Olivia Holt, graduating from Disney Channel fare), stunning and common, who’s kidnapped and lacking within the second yr, and coping with the fallout and psychological aftermath of that within the third.
Nonetheless, the main target will not be solely on the 2 women, however these round them, together with buddies and fogeys, whose relationships have been jumbled in head-spinning methods as nicely from yr to yr.
Frankly, one might simply do with out one other present that entails the victimization of a teenage woman, and “Merciless Summer time” incorporates warnings for individuals who is likely to be unsettled by that situation. But the system largely works as a set-up to discover, primarily, Jeanette’s evolution, which, due to Aurelia’s spectacular efficiency, one way or the other manages to really feel like an nearly utterly totally different character in every of the years visited.
Sometimes, the best present comes alongside within the mistaken venue, which in TV phrases can grow to be its personal merciless coincidence. For now, although, the 4 previewed episodes proceed to ship surprising turns and crumbs of knowledge, planting the hook deep sufficient to maintain curiosity about the place all that is heading, with the disclaimer that the aforementioned dramas ran out of inventive fuel fairly shortly.
As pass-the-popcorn diversions go, that is about as stable an endorsement — given misgivings about the subject material — as “Merciless Summer time” might hope to elicit.
“Merciless Summer time” premieres April 20 at 9 p.m. on Freeform.