Why 'The End of the F***ing World' is one of the best shows on Netflix right now
A blend of weird and wonderful, the show appeals to a global audience because it is snappy with each episode being about 18 minutes long
Netflix may have underestimated the success of 'The End of the F***ing World,' but ever since its first episode aired on January 5, global audience has been nothing short of thrilled by the show.
Given that the show first aired last autumn on UK's Channel 4 and kept a rather low profile, Netflix data calculations showed that the success was unlikely. But the lesson that numbers aren't the only yardstick to measure success was learned when the rating skyrocketed for TEOTFW.
Based on the graphic novel of the same name by Charles Forsman, we first meet a 17-year-old boy, James (played by Alex Lawther), who’s "pretty sure" he’s a psychopath, and a detached, hostile girl, Alyssa (played by Jessica Barden), who has a peculiar way of pissing off the people she meets. The dark-comedy is an awakening coming-of-age road-trip series and a binge-worthy watch. In fact, it is the best show to watch on Netflix right now.
No, I am not dismissing other hits such as 'Stranger Things' and '13 Reasons Why,' but this show is the kind you'd just "check out" and get hooked on even before you realize it. Straightforward quotes that will not sugarcoat life and its meanings. Just a misanthropic series that is genuinely funny and a love story that is immensely endearing.
There's just no way that you can predict the plotline after an episode. The story of a psychopath who wants to kill the girl he is falling in love with beautifully unfurls in the most pessimistic storyline and dialogues.
Take, for example, the first conversation between James and Alyssa as she approaches him during lunch in the school cafeteria. "I've seen you skating," she says (later we find out she hasn't). "You're pretty shit," she adds. "Fuck off," replies James.
Instantly we can make out that the characters we are going to see in the show aren't your average teenagers who impulsively embark on a road trip only to return home and find their redemption. In the opening episode, James recounts drowning his hand in a deep fryer as a child in an effort to feel something.
He then becomes obsessed with murder, killing stray animals, from small ones such as rats to a little bigger ones such as cats. Now, he is fueled enough to kill a human being and sets his target on Alyssa who randomly approaches him. We were warned not to talk to strangers weren't we? But who knew that included schoolmates at the cafeteria? But, thanks to that, the most unlikely individuals come together to find a synchronized weirdness in one another.
In the unexpected story of two teenagers who run away from home because they find no reason to stay, you'll see flashes of gore and violence. Don't even try confining the show to one specific genre, because it is so much more than just a dark comedy for adult viewers.
My emphasis is on how truly real the show is and, despite its modern concept, the feel is vintage. There aren't any cringe-worthy moments of love and despair. Even when James has set Alyssa as his first victim to kill while Alyssa is set to go visit her estranged dad, the duo vibe in originality of who they are. James wants to kill Alyssa on multiple occasions, and we see flashes of Alyssa drenched in cold blood as James imagines to satiate his thirst for murder.
But beneath the weird crazy individuals that they are, we see human beings in them who desperately want to be loved. For the most part of the series, James is the quiet one who speaks in a monotone voice while Alyssa is the one who has a foul mouth and uses obscene language to piss people around.
That's them, just masking the deep-rooted pain and sense of abandonment; that James felt when his mother killed herself in front of him, and Alyssa did when her dad left when she was eight. Her mother, now married to a complete twat, is a new mother to twins, who cannot express her love for her teenage daughter whilst married to a young rich man.
A sense of universality is felt through the show even if no one admits that they may be a psychopath or peculiarly strange. But many people feel fucked up in the exact way the show depicts in an uncensored manner. In one such instance, James talks about how silence is the absolute worst thing in the world. "That day I learned silence is really loud. Deafening. When you have silence, it's hard to keep stuff out. It's all there. And you can't get rid of it."
A blend of weird and wonderful, another reason why it appeals to a global audience is because the eight-episode show is snappy and short. Give or take, about 18 minutes long. Many shows, no matter how great, fail to keep it crisp and raw. This show does just that. On top of that, Alyssa's one-liners are just as sharp and snappy. The unexpected turning is the actual murder by James (nope, not Alyssa), and the ambiguous ending of the show that sees no pardoning.
It is still a love story, the best one out there. But we all know the path of love is not easy, so don't think the show is an easy watch. The ending may or may not be a cliffhanger, it is solely your perspective but there is a potential for a second season. The fans are divided if the series ought to have a second season or not because, if there isn't, then the beauty of this one-of-a-kind show is retained. If there is, then the show would go beyond Forsman's original story and we will only see more of Alyssa and James (hopefully).
Though the second season is not yet confirmed by the network, the writer of the show, Charlie Covell, has signed up with Netflix for an upcoming show on Greek mythology called “KAOS.”