It seems like every day Netflix comes out with twenty new television shows and movies. And anytime I watch one of them, I still feel like I haven’t made even the slightest dent in their content library.
Unless they’re shows I am already invested in, I try to stay away from new Netflix shows. But when I saw the trailer for their new teen drama, The Society, I was intrigued. After all, I am a huge sucker for teen angst and supernatural/post-apocalyptic themes.
Honestly, it feels like forever since I found a teen show I love and can obsess over like One Tree Hill – one of my favorite shows of all time. When Riverdale was first introduced, I thought maybe this show could fill that the hole that One Tree Hill left. For a while, it seemed very promising. Betty and Jughead were great and the storylines were interesting enough that I still found myself watching each new episode live.
That was until this most recent season. Between Archie being sent to juvenile detention because his girlfriend’s father didn’t like him to group seizures in the middle of their high school hallways, this season was insane.
I’m not saying that One Tree Hill didn’t have any crazy storylines (hello Nanny Carrie), but Riverdale has seemed to cross the line into pure chaos.
With no desire to continue keeping up with season three of Riverdale (though I’ll probably watch it once it hits Netflix because I can’t help myself), I started looking for a new teen drama to fill the void. I found that in The Society.
The Society is a ten-episode series that follows the lives of a group of high school students as they try to make, well, a society. After returning from a field trip early, they come back to a desolate town. Their families and neighbors all seemingly vanished without a trace. Their entire town becomes surrounded by dense forest, making any type of escape into the real world impossible.
Suddenly, this group of teenagers is stuck without knowing what to do or who to turn to. They spend the first 24 hours of their newfound freedom partying as you would expect. But that quickly fades away as they begin to realize that they are truly on their own. Their parent’s safety net gone. And for a bunch of privileged teenagers, that’s when it starts to get interesting.
With around two-hundred kids left to occupy their town, The Society does a great job of exploring the many types of characters within the group. There is the student body president, her overshadowed sister, their psychopathic cousin, the jocks, the unpopular kids, and so many more. Each character plays a role in whether this new civilization will rise or fall.
As they work on rebuilding their new civilization from the ground up, they begin to tread on some very serious topics. For instance, one of its best episodes is when they have to decide whether or not to have any sort of legal system. They have to figure out not only what qualifies as a crime, but what needs to be done when the crime is committed.
That issue also piggybacks on one of the overall questions of the show – what kind of society is best? And when you think you have found the perfect solution, how long does it take until that implodes?
I’m assuming only half of these kids paid attention in history class so it comes as no surprise when everything doesn’t go according to plan. And The Society isn’t afraid to take big risks to show that either.
Just when you think things may finally come together for this group of teenagers is when things get turned on its head. A shocking event ends the third episode and ultimately changes the course of the entire series. From that point on, we know this isn’t your average teen show.
Of course, there are still your expected teen angst and relationship drama here and there. And, honestly, who would watch a show without it? But the relationships are more complex than meets the eye. From friendships to romantic partners, each relationship aims to explore the balance between what relationships children should have versus adults. Is it normal for sixteen-year-olds to play house together? No, but it is in their new society.
With each passing day in this new civilization, we see the childhood innocence of each character slowly peel away. It’s tragic but necessary to survive.
On top of all that, the performances given by the actors and actresses on the series are incredible. The most powerful performances come during some of the show’s biggest twists and it will make you become even more invested in the lives of each of the characters.
It’s the riveting performances that make up for what is mostly a slow-paced series. However, The Society uses this pacing for their advantage. Even though some parts felt more drawn out than needed, most of the time the series is able to use their timing to really flesh out certain characters and storylines. The character Allie, for example, benefited immensely from the way the writers decided to tell the story. Had it felt more rushed (like say, fitting an hour worth of television in forty minutes), characters like Allie wouldn’t get nearly the amount of development needed to become interesting characters.
A show that only has ten episodes needs to effectively use its time. The Society did (mostly) just that.
After bingeing this series in practically a night, I began to imagine what might happen should the series be renewed for a second season.
The ten-episode season ended abruptly, making me long for more episodes and a resolution to the story. That only got me thinking – if this show becomes even half as popular as Riverdale, it will practically guarantee more seasons.
With that being said, it’s is time to make room for more than just Riverdale in your teen drama loving heart. I can’t promise The Society is going to be your new favorite show, but I can say it is a thrilling journey that attempts to examine what it means to be a child in an adult world.
The Society season one is available on Netflix.
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I watch way too much TV, but I can't help it. What can I say -- I have a weak spot for some well-written fictional characters. When I'm not watching or writing about TV, I work at a public relations agency in Chicago.