Case 63 is devourable.
Spotify does it again with a ten-episode series that will have you on the edge of your seat and craving more. A second season cannot come fast enough.
Julianne Moore and Oscar Isaac star in this thrilling podcast, and the chemistry between them is unparalleled.
Case 63 is the English adaptation of Caso 63, Spotify's most listened-to scripted Original podcast in Latin America. Moore and Isaac executive produce and star in the series, brought to us by Moore's production company FortySixty, Isaac's Mad Gene Media, and Spotify's Gimlet Studios.
The entire first season of this series dropped on October 25, and it's already the number-one podcast on Spotify, topping the charts in the US, Canada, Ireland, and the UK.
Anyone who listens to it will quickly understand why, as it transports listeners to a genre-bending thriller that leaves you clinging to every last word.
The concept of this series is that Eliza Beatrix Knight, a psychiatrist in New York City, takes on a case with a patient, Peter Roiter, who she references as Case 63, expertly portrayed by Isaac, who believes he's a time traveler from 2062.
Within roughly 90 minutes, Eliza goes from attempting to treat a man she feels is delusional to getting sucked into his gripping tales and urgent quest to save the world from something that has not yet happened.
It results in a pulse-pounding mystery -- an intellectual battle of wills between Peter and Eliza that crackles with tension thanks to Isaac and Moore's electric chemistry.
From start to finish, it leaves you unsure who will come out on top, as Peter risks everything to convince Eliza of who he is, the message he has, and her place in saving the world as we know it.
It's a risk these days to venture into the sci-fi disaster genre. Many people have reached a point of fatigue as we continue to dip in and out of pandemics, fully knowing that our entire world has fundamentally changed since COVID and global lockdowns.
Case 63 takes the momentum from that and leans heavily into it so that it stops feeling like sci-fi and instead feels like a potential reality in the not-too-distant future.
The best sci-fi disaster stories are so deeply rooted in our reality that our imaginations don't have to stretch too far. Case 63 finds the right balance in presenting a potentially bleak future without depriving listeners of the hope necessary to keep humanity alive.
If it were simply text, Case 63 would likely feel like more trauma porn and misery, the very antithesis of the escapist storytelling that many have craved since we've been left clawing our way out of the dredges of mass health, social, psychological, and economic epidemics.
But Moore and Isaac are riveting. The ability to hear them, feel as if you're in the room with them, listening to these two master-class actors spin this tale with nothing beyond some sound effects, and the inflection in their voices is pure magic.
Isaac has a voice for podcasts, sexy and intriguing; you hang onto his every single word, which makes him the perfect Peter. Because, like Eliza, you wanted to believe every word he said, trust in the impossible, simply because he said it.
His charisma oozed through in every single line. His voice lures you in, entrancing in such a way that you get lost in what he's presenting to you and struggle to contradict it.
And what's ingenious about the series as it unfolds is that no matter how convincing Peter is, there are still enough nuances and inconsistencies to support the doubt.
Peter is not a reliable narrator, but he's a seductive one, and he'll take you on this journey with him and succeed in enticing you to his side even when he pushes you past boundaries.
His appeal to Eliza is a certainty well before the intricate nature of their relationship, and what they mean to each other comes to light.
Peter is convincing, and it's easy to buy into whatever he's selling because of how close to reality it feels for us now as listeners.
We're coming off the COVID pandemic, and it's not so much that it's slowed down, but it's become our new normal. Peter warns Eliza of individuals' complacency during the 2020 pandemic. One that served as the beginning of the end for the plethora that followed.
The strains are constantly mutating and evolving, and at some point in Peter's world and lifetime, humankind can't stave it off anymore.
He implies the highs of a society where all the social injustices and isms get eradicated at some point. It seems like some unattainable dystopia for us now.
But he also brings up the moments preceding and following that time when society takes on what we know it to do -- descend into the worst of what humans can offer, give into the worst traits -- greed, selfishness, murder, hatred, control.
He speaks of an age of individualism but also one of uniformity. It's a mish-mash of contradictions that still feel authentic and within the realm of possibility.
Peter's commentary about The Great Deletion, how technology goes from an advancement beyond comprehension to eradication surprisingly, leading to a more primitive society, feels plausible.
It's a world beyond our comprehension on one hand while simultaneously being within the realm of possibility for the near future based on the present, and that's what makes it work. It doesn't hurt that Oscar Isaac sells the hell out of everything.
From the cheeky humor to the frenetic energy and impatience of someone who knows they're running out of time, Oscar Isaac delivers it all, making Peter a fascinating character from start to finish.
Case 63 doesn't have to try too hard. It gets to ride off of what's real to us now and elevate and intensify it.
Peter's commentary about the future feels vague enough that the podcast doesn't have to make a fool of itself by getting too caught up in sci-fi jargon to convince listeners.
But it still has its outs, the Garnier Malet Effect referencing the bending of time and communication through dreams.
Pegasus feels like an uninspired name for the virus to end all of them, and Peter representing the Intrapandemic generation, feels delightfully hokey.
Eliza's grip on what's real and not loosens with each episode, her recordings revealing how susceptible she is to Peter along the way and that she's buying what's at stake.
And it's believable that Eliza may just work with this mysterious man professing to be a time traveler on his quest to save Marie Baker, or Patient Zero, and thus stop the end of the world.
But their trust isn't easy or even fully realized along the way. It's a cat-and-mouse game that Moore and Isaac nail from the beginning to the end.
It's a push-pull dynamic where power constantly shifts, and neither character ever has the upper hand.
And it's fascinating.
It all builds to a jaw-dropping ending that capitalizes on all the twists and turns in the series along the way.
And by those final moments, you must process what you heard and find yourself trying to piece the mystery together to understand how it ended.
Case 63 is a total mind trip, a perfect blend of suspense and intrigue -- it's a cerebral thrill.
If you haven't checked Case 63 already, you should head to Spotify and do so. It's a quick binge and not one you'll regret. Sound off below with your thoughts!
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.