'Love 101' Review: Netflix's latest Turkish teen drama is an ode to the '90s and reminiscent of 'Derry Girls'

With its third Turkish original, 'Love 101', also known as 'Aşk 101', Netflix enters a different genre. The teen drama can, however, be enjoyed by all ages


                            'Love 101' Review: Netflix's latest Turkish teen drama is an ode to the '90s and reminiscent of 'Derry Girls'
'Love 101' (Netflix)

Spoilers for Season 1 of 'Love 101'

Netflix has released two Turkish originals before today, 'The Protector' and 'The Gift'. Both shows were immediate hits, although they were targeted to an older audience and featured supernatural elements.

With its third Turkish original, 'Love 101', also known as 'Aşk 101', Netflix enters a different genre. The teen drama features no supernatural elements and although its protagonists are teenagers, the drama can be enjoyed by people of all ages.

Set primarily in 1998, 'Love 101' tells the story of five teenagers — four misfits and one model student. The four misfits are Kerem (Kubilay Aka), Eda (Alina Boz), Osman (Selahattin Paşalı), and Sinan (Mert Yazıcıoğlu). All come from different circles and none of them are friends, but they all get into trouble repeatedly. 

All four have gone to the school board multiple times on the threat of expulsion. In the first episode of 'Love 101', these students are asked to behave but in one way or another, they do things separately that end up nearly burning down the school.

The head of the school and most teachers have had enough and they are ready to expel them. The only person who saves them is Ms Burcu, who is a Vice Principal. She is the only one who stands between them and expulsion yet again.

And so, when they get the news that Burcu is set to be transferred at the end of the school year, the four misfits decide to work together. However, they realize neither of them knows anything about love, so they rope in Isik (İpek Filiz Yazıcı) who loves romantic movies and love in general. 

'Love 101' (Netflix)

They come up with the plan to make Burcu fall in love with someone and make her want to stay in Istanbul and just as they struggle to find a candidate to pair her with, in walks Kemal (Kaan Urgancıoğlu), the new basketball coach.

In between their scheming, the five students also grow close to each other. The viewers also learn of each of their circumstances. Isik comes from a strict household which expects her to behave a certain way, and so does Kerem; however, in his case, his father is verbally abusive.

Then there is Sinan whose parents have both abandoned him to live with their new families. He lives with his mostly unconscious grandfather in the dilapidated house while his father shows up now and then to take paintings or cups for his new house. Eda's family expects her to be pretty and use it to get married to a good family, and she is afraid of telling them she wants to be a graphic designer. Meanwhile, Osman is a straight-up hustler. The man sells everything from tickets to food and knows the best ways to make money.

While the teenagers work at bringing their teachers together, the adults' egos play spoilsport. However, there are feelings there, in spite of competing colleagues and boorish finances. 

'Love 101' is an enjoyable and binge-worthy show. With music from the '90s and the themes focusing on teenagers growing up and rebelling against the system, it is highly reminiscent of 'Derry Girls'. With characters like Burcu and Kemal, the show also reminds us of 'Dead Poets Society'. 

The eight episodes of the first season fly by quickly — especially with the flashforwards that show a grown-up Isik and later Eda waiting for everyone to turn up. Somewhere between the end of what happened and the present, something happened to mess up their friendship. We don't yet know what that is, but should the series be renewed for a second season — and we hope it will — we should be able to find out.

All episodes of Season 1 of 'Love 101' are now streaming on Netflix.

Disclaimer : The views expressed in this article belong to the writer and are not necessarily shared by MEAWW.