It’s not a new discovery that the “t” in “teen drama” is often for “trashy,” yet there is a mysterious allure to such programs. Maybe they’re guilty pleasures, or simple mindless activities to let the brain rest, but it’s practically an epidemic (for example, the Riverdale craze).
In Netflix’s newest trashy soap The Society, the Lord of the Flies trope takes over a small New England town’s senior class after they are shipped away on school buses for a field trip, and return to a replica of their town with a few major differences: they are surrounded by a thick forest that prevents any escape, and there are absolutely no adults.
Taking place in the modern day, the characters can communicate technologically to each other, but not to anyone outside of town. And to make the situation even better, the kids are wealthy and not used to having everything given to them. You can probably guess how well these spoiled teenagers do when left to their own devices. Yeah, not well. Caught in the balance between anarchy and socialism, the main characters must establish order before things get worse.
The show, which was created by Christopher Keyser, premiered on Netflix for streaming May 10, and has since then garnered mediocre attention. The first season contains 10 episodes; so easily and pleasurably bingeable.
Compared to the trainwreck of Riverdale, The Society has a much more well refined script, and some competent actors to carry the show along. No Emmy-winning performances by any stretch, but they didn’t make me want to rip my hair out every time they opened their mouths, so that’s something. The character development, both in the positive and negative directions, were interesting to witness and the script accommodated them adequately.
The main character, Allie Pressman is able to support the show decently, and succeeded in getting the audience to feel and emote alongside her. But some characters that gave the show depth were Sam (Sean Berdy), Becca (Gideon Adlon), Allie (Kathryn Newton) and, my personal favorite, Grizz (Jack Mulhern). The main teenage antagonist is Campbell (Toby Wallace) and he’s incredibly irritating, so Wallace is doing his job correctly. The eventual story arc involving Becca, Sam, and Grizz is compelling, and showcases the one couple in the show that I think everyone was rooting for, including me, obviously. For his debut acting role, Mulhern is praiseworthy, and definitely portrays one of the only characters that you can’t help but love, seeing as how infuriating the others can be.
The Society isn’t by any means the next Game of Thrones or Stranger Things, but it’s interesting enough for a teen drama to make it binge-worthy. It’s also certainly not everyone’s cup of tea, but, hey, don’t knock it until you try it, I suppose.