‘Archive 81’ Boss Calls the Twisty Netflix Drama a ‘Mystery Box Show’

Archive 81 Netflix
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Quantrell D. Colbert/Netflix

VHS meets OMG in Archive 81, an eight-episode series about videotape archivist Dan Turner (Mamoudou Athie), who’s hired to restore a batch of damaged cassettes from 1994.

The story unfolds in different timelines: As Dan pieces together footage that reveals how missing documentarian Melody Pendras (Dina Shihabi) stumbled upon a bizarre cult more than 25 years ago, he’s also haunted by events from his own past that seem to be resurfacing in the present.

Archive 81 Mamoudou Athie Netflix

(Credit: Quantrell D. Colbert/Netflix)

The characters’ shared connections (and who hired Dan in the first place) are just a few of the twists, which is why executive producer Rebecca Sonnenshine (The Vampire Diaries) describes the drama as “a mystery box show.”

Her clever combination of several genres — including suspense and supernatural — is sure to keep viewers guessing what’s fact or fiction until the end…and possibly even after.

Archive 81, Series Premiere, Friday, January 14, Netflix