'I Am Not Okay With This' Review: This teen drama is a mundane tale of 'Stranger Things' inspired plot twists

A synergetic effort by 'The End of the F***ing World' and 'Stranger Things' makers, the Netflix series starts with a jaw-dropping plot but is that enough?


                            'I Am Not Okay With This' Review: This teen drama is a mundane tale of 'Stranger Things' inspired plot twists
(Netflix)

Spoiler Alert for all seven episodes of 'I Am Not Okay With This' 

When you start a new show, what is the first thing you expect to see? A new world and a new story. But if you are served the same old broth on a new plate, will you enjoy it? That is precisely the problem with 'I Am Not Okay With This'. 

A synergetic effort by 'The End of the F***ing World’ and 'Stranger Things' makers, the Netflix series starts with a jaw-dropping plot. A young girl, Sydney Novak (Sophia Lillis) starts her rant with "Dear Diary, go f**k yourself!" But even that can't save the teen drama that takes pride in its supernatural elements.

In the first episode titled 'Dear Diary...' Syd introduces herself as a "boring 17-year-old white girl" who discovers she has telekinetic powers when her best friend Dina (Sofia Bryant) — who is also her secret crush — hooks up with a crude jock, Bradley Lewis (Richard Ellis). Syd seethes with anger and her feelings boil over in startling ways. Guess what? She makes Brad's nose bleed!

Aidan Wojtak-Hissong as Liam and Sophia Lillis as Sydney Novak (Netflix)

Struggling with a tragic past, Syd also talks about the hole in her heart after her dad's suicide in the basement and her strained relationship with her mom, Maggie (Kathleen Rose Perkins). The mystery around her dad's death builds over the next couple of episodes and it is the one thing that will keep you hooked. 

If there was another charm to the show, it is in Stanley Barber's (Wyatt Oleff) character. A young junkie, he sticks by Syd's side and gives her company whenever she finds herself alone. In fact, Stan is the only one who knows about her abilities and even calls her a "superhero". Day by day, her struggle to control her powers only increases. When she tries to avoid a meltdown at school after fighting with her mom, he even appoints himself Syd's mentor.

As the drama proceeds, the show delves deeper into unnecessary high-school drama. During a stint in detention, Brad offers Syd a truce, and an incident in the library leads to a high-stakes mission. It seems pretty nonsensical. Through the latter half, the only thing interesting is the episode titled 'Like Father, Like Daughter' where Syd worries she is being followed. Anxious and determined to get closure about her father's death, she searches the basement for answers.

Wyatt Oleff as Stanley Barber, Sophia Lillis as Sydney Novak and Sofia Bryant as Dina (Netflix)

When she finally finds out the truth, she is at peace. Armed with new insight about her dad, Syd vows to stay positive as she goes to the homecoming dance. But there is a major twist at the end. It calls back to the first scene where she runs in a blood-soaked dress. Seems like Syd has committed a crime. And at the end of the drama, one big question is: who is the man in the black shadow?

Adapted from the graphic novel by Charles Forsman, the show relies on a lot of commonalities with 'The End of the F***ing World' and 'Stranger Things'. An angsty teen protagonist, heavy voiceover narration, superhero elements and mystery. Perhaps the one scene that will stay with you is when Syd realizes the might of her power in the forest as all the trees around her are destroyed. 

With not much originality in its plot, the seven episodes culminate as just another coming-of-age story. Tweaked with supernatural mysticism, season one merits two and a half stars. Nevertheless, if you're in the mood to watch a bit of superhero streak on television, stream all seven episodes of the Netflix show as it premieres on February 26, 2020.

If you have an entertainment scoop or a story for us, please reach out to us on (323) 421-7515