Thriller / TV Series
Is It Worth Watching? Yes, if you have run out of things to watch.
H insists that I begin with the caveat that I’m not the target audience for this program. So here I am, letting you all know that this program is aimed at teens. Having said that, I would also like to add:
- Teens deserve better.
- I really enjoyed Sabrina. So there.
The Society is Lord of the Flies meets Riverdale with a sprinkling of Wayward Pines. Of these three, only the book is worth investing time in. The show starts with a town full of entitled kids — the usual jock, beauty, outcast, psycho — and a disgusting smell that no one can get rid of. The kids are sent off on a field trip while the grown-ups sort out the stink, only for the school buses to return and find that everyone in their town of New Ham is gone. Not dead, vanished. Everything looks and is exactly the same except there’s no internet (OMG), no way out of the town and there’s a full solar eclipse few years too early. The parents are gone, the teenagers have no idea what to do and, of course, all hell breaks loose. There’s both good and bad with this program. I’ll list them here and you can make your own choice:
It’s good. Apart from a couple of howlers, the cast is pretty good. Kathryn Newton as Allie is great, but that’s no surprise. She’s shown herself to be a rising star since before Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. But my personal favourite is Sean Berdy who plays a deaf and gay boy. His love for Jack Mulhern‘s Grizz is heartbreaking and Twitter is crazy about them. Toby Wallace is also very convincing as Berdy’s psychopathic older brother.
Although this Lord of the Flies concept has been done to death and never too successfully, it is a sound concept. To see how children would cope if left to their own devices. But these are not primary school children, these are teenagers with most of them on their way to universities. Young adults. And they do start off sensibly: having a leader, organising everyone into work groups, rationing food, sharing resources all that Walking Dead kind of stuff. But soon enough, petty jealousies and selfishness and the desire to rule overtakes common sense. Add to the mix that they might be in a parallel universe and you’ve got a melting pot of conflicts that bubbleth over.
The different relationships in this program is what made me keep watching it beyond episode three which is when H gave up. Allie’s love for her sister, Sam and Grizz, Sam’s support of his pregnant friend, Will and Kelly’s slow waltz. Friendship, romance, enmity, competitiveness, sibling rivalry, sibling love. You name it and it’s here.
Way Too Serious
For a program where the characters have somehow teleported to another universe, a town’s biggest problem is bad smell and is now run by a bunch of teenagers, it takes itself far too seriously. I don’t know if this is an attempt to distance itself from other teen programs, like Riverdale where all plot points seem like a recurring joke, but it could have done with some lightening up. Even scenes where they are attempting to hold the prom or Thanksgiving or just a movie night are full of unnecessary conflict and tension. It’s a program trying to act grown-up.
Although the actors in the program are very good, the characters they play are woefully stereotyped. Apart from Kathryn Newton’s Allie, every character has been fitted into a specific mould. It’s all black and white. Not a speck of grey can be seen. Even Sean Berdy’s Sam is just too good to be true, refusing to tell the truth to the one person he loves. I find myself screaming at the TV: Come on! Tell Grizz! He’ll understand. The same is true for Alex Fitzalan who plays a spoilt brat and is unable to see beyond the end of his nose and Toby Wallace who even attempts to eat a sandwich in a deranged-way.
Well, of course, the plot is contrived. I’ll let that one go. We have to have conflict. But nothing in this program seems natural or comes about as a result of the characters’s actions. Every scene is manipulated, laid out only to further the plot. Things escalate too quickly and incredulously. It’s hard to believe that these young, entitled, overly-protected children would be so quick to kill someone or plot a murder. Rioting, yes, but murder, too farfetched. It seems like being in a difficult situation has given them the license to behave completely unnaturally to how they were brought up. It took about 250 pages to kill one character in Lord of the Flies.