Berlin review: It doesn't just fail to live up to the legacy of Money Heist, it stumbles, falls, and faceplants into a pit of mediocrity.

In the grand tradition of spin-offs that should have never seen the light of day, Netflix's Berlin, a prequel to the acclaimed Money Heist, arrived on the platform on Friday evening. Attempting to delve into the glory years of the enigmatic Berlin, played with a certain level of finesse by Pedro Alonso, the 10-episode series is as illogical as the plot itself, and a haphazard concoction of recycled elements, endorsing problematic themes without any hint of self-awareness. Also read: December web series to check out

Set in the pre-Money Heist era, Berlin decides it's time to showcase his brilliance by stealing €44 million worth of jewels from a Parisian bank vault. What could go wrong? Well, apparently, not much in the world of Berlin. The plot unfolds with the precision of a drunkard stumbling through a field of banana peels, relying heavily on good luck rather than any semblance of a well-thought-out plan.

In a stunning display of originality, the series shamelessly borrows characters and roles from its parent show, as if hoping we wouldn't notice. Apart from Berlin, the group consists of a contemplative yet restrained genius, who serves as the intellectual force (embodied by Tristán Ulloa in the role of Damián, an older, bespectacled counterpart to Álvaro Morte's El Profesor), a charismatic but simpler-minded individual (Joel Sánchez as Bruce, a less nuanced version of Jaime Lorente's Denver), and an adventure seeker haunted by a previous relationship (Begoña Vargas, seemingly destined for disappointment as her character, Camerón, closely mirrors Úrsula Corberó's Tokyo).

The parallels in the show are openly acknowledged, and the characters are not all unoriginal; an example is Keila (played by Michelle Jenner), a new and distinctive addition as a timid hacker. However, it comes across as an inside joke that one character, Roi (portrayed by Julio Peña Fernández), has a name that is an anagram of Rio, the character played by Miguel Herrán in the original series.

It's a cut-and-paste job that leaves you wondering if the creators, Álex Pina and Esther Martínez Lobato, were on a tight deadline or just taking the lazy route for kicks