It took me a while to get into Elite, I’ll admit. It didn’t appeal to me for the same reason it appeals to most US viewers – there’s nothing cool or exotic about Spanish speaking shows for me, with my first language being Spanish. I also lived in Spain for a while, and was exposed to their TV industry enough to fall for not one, or two, but many, many Spanish shows before.
Hell, I even laughed, cried and did a hell of a lot of shipping while watching another show about a boarding school, El Internado, the show that birthed the careers of Yon Gonzalez, Blanca Suarez and Martiño Rivas, from Cable Girls. And that’s without even going into my undying love for the original Gran Hotel.
So Elite just didn’t just call out to me. Been there, I thought. Watched that. In more than one language even, because teenage school dramas aren’t exactly groundbreaking in nature. And though, in many ways, I have, in a lot of other good ones, I haven’t.
Because the plot isn’t the reason to watch Elite – though the plot is as crazy as I remember El Internado being, with much more murder than should happen at any school, as well as a healthy dose of class struggles, a core mystery we just really want them to solve sooner rather than later, and oh yes, did I mention ships? Because boy, are there ships to root for.
No, the heart of this show is the characters. Just as we fell in love with Harry Potter and Katniss Everdeen back in the day, there’s something about these kids that just …clicks, not just separately, but as a group.
Yes, to do that the show has to examine all the pitfalls of, well, being young, finding your voice, discovering what it means to be you, as well as what happens when what you want to be doesn’t conform to society or worse, your parents expectations, all very typical themes in teenage shows, but good writing makes these a smooth journey.
We care, but not just because the themes are interesting, but because the characters demand we care.
That’s the best reason to watch a show. Plots end, and sometimes – often times, really – they end up not going the way we want to, or the way that makes sense, for many, many reasons. And yes, that can sometimes mean the characters we love are making decisions we don’t like, but as long as a show doesn’t sacrifice characterization for the sake of plot, usually, that’s not an insurmountable problem.
So yes, Elite is insane. Sometimes borderline too much, especially considering these are teenagers. But will you even care about that? Not likely. You’ll be too busy worrying about what’s going to happen to these people to worry about the rest.
Are you a fan of Elite? Have you watched season 3? Share with us in the comments below!
Elite season 3 is available to stream on Netflix.