The Innocents is the latest young adult supernatural show that should be on your bingeing schedule, but it's a little bit different than the other series out there.
The series centers on British teen June (Sorcha Groundsell) and her secret boyfriend Harry (Percelle Ascott), who attempt to run away together on June's 16th birthday only to discover she has the bizarre ability to shapeshift. The shifters in the series come from a Norse gene line descending from the ancient Berserker warriors, but there's been some evolutionary changes in how the shifting works.
The rest of the mythology is laid out in the first season as June discovers her powers and where they came from. There's no pre-cursor movie or novel that the show was adapted from, meaning that Duric and Elkington have created this universe and its rules on their own.
If you're not the type that wants to take notes while enjoying the binge, though, TV Guide say down with producers to break down the rules of The Innocents shapeshifting mythology and compiled them here. Beware, there are some spoilers so read at your own risk!
1. Shifters are women only: Sorry boys, you don't get to have the fun with this one. All of the shifters in the series are women, though they can shift into males.
2. Shifting has an emotional trigger: A shifter will automatically go into a shift state if they're emotionally triggered. "So one shifters' trigger might be anger, one's might be love, one's might be fear," Elkington says. "And the way that that trigger is determined is what emotion is it that makes you shift for the first time."
3. Shifting begins at age 16: Shifters have just a little bit after puberty before their first shift can take place. Once they hit their sweet 16 though, the first shift can happen at any point when they experience an intense emotion, which makes sense because teenagers are full of those.
4. Shifts can only be initiated by human contact: Once a shifter goes into shift state, the person they are shifting into has to make skin-to-skin contact for the transformation to begin. While the shifter is in someone else's form, the original person is essentially in a coma, lifeless until the shifter returns back to their own body.
5. It's only a body transformation: "Be careful what you're wearing, 'cause you're gonna be wearing those clothes afterwards," Duric warns. When a shifter goes from one body to another, they'll be wearing the clothes they were originally wearing. So if you're changing into a burly, bearded man, wear a big sweater and not your cutest crop top.
6. The shifter gene usually skips generations: Most shifters get the gene from their grandmother, but there are exceptions who inherit the gene from their mother. When a shifter gets the gene directly from their mother, they have enhanced shifting abilities beyond just taking on someone's physical form.
7. Mirrors show a shifter's true identity: Keep an eye on reflective surfaces because a shifter's true form will be seen in any reflective surface that you'd check your hair or make-up in.
The final rule does contain a major spoiler for the end of the series so don't scroll any further unless you're ready to know things you can't un-know.
8. A shifter should shift back to their own body before going into another shift: It is possible for a shifter to shift from one person to the next without returning to their original form, but when they skip that crucial step it puts every person they shifted into, except for the last person they touched, into a catatonic state. So if they shift into Person 1 and then into Person 2 without shifting back to the original state, Person 2 will return to normal but Person 1 is stuck barely able to speak or move on their own.
The Innocents is now streaming on Netflix.