Watching the trailer prior to its release, I can't say I was especially interested in watching the eight-episode first season of "The End of the F***ing World" (TEOTFW), a British dark comedy based on the Charles S. Forsman graphic novel of the same name.
The premise seemed interesting enough: Psychopathic teen James is obsessed with killing and is looking to kill his first human. That's where Alyssa comes in; James' fellow angsty, troublesome teen who he pretends to fall in love with in order to hopefully kill later on.
The series stars "Black Mirror's" Alex Lawther, and while the show definitely intrigued me at first glance, it didn't really seem like a show I'd enjoy that much, so I dismissed the thought of watching it. However, after the show's first season received rave reviews (97% on Rotten Tomatoes) and after multiple close friends urged me to watch the show, I finally gave in.
It only took me about two episodes to become invested, but it wasn't until episode three or four before I realized I was completely hooked and enamored enough to binge the entire eight-episode season. The short length of each 25-minute episode made my binging experience easy enough; the episodes were long enough to set up an intriguing story but short enough where I never felt like an episode dragged on longer than it should have.
If there were two words that completely encapsulate why this show is so worthy of praise, they would be "character development." In only eight episodes, my opinions on most of the main characters did a complete 180. Troubled and foul-mouthed Alyssa becomes witty and charming while still maintaining her edgy personality. Psychopathic and awkward James breaks out of his shell as he realizes Alyssa is not someone he wants to kill but instead someone he deeply cares about.
The minor characters in TEOTFW also get a chance to shine as the female police duo of Eunice (Gemma Whelan) and Teri (Wunmi Mosaku) are particularly well played. However, it is our main duo of James (Alex Lawther) and Alyssa (Jessica Barden) who steal the show with intense chemistry as their characters escape their dysfunctional lives at home, get into trouble and go on the run as a modern-day "Bonnie and Clyde."
The show is both dramatic and romantic, but it is its unique brand of British dark comedy that truly sets it apart. As the season goes on and the stakes for our two protagonists get higher and higher, the drama and excitement are ramped up, but the witty and well-written comedy is put on display as well.
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Arguably the best part of TEOTFW is its official soundtrack, with the tracks mainly consisting of "doo-wop" oldies and Hank Williams country music, the soundtrack of this dark and romantic show perfectly contrasts yet somehow compliments its tone and atmosphere.
If nothing else, this show made me emotional. It's been a long time since I cared so much about the well being of certain characters as I did with James and Alyssa. As their relationship grew, so did my love for this wonderful show. Tremendous acting, impressive chemistry and a catchy soundtrack make this show one of Netflix's best.
With eight short episodes, I went through a rollercoaster of emotions ranging from anger and sadness to relief and joy. If you're not totally convinced, give the show two episodes and I'm willing to bet you'll be hooked, just as I was.
Initially a show I'd probably never give a second look, TEOTFW has become one of my favorite releases of 2017, and with an intense cliffhanger to end the first season, the British "dramedy" has me on the edge of my seat waiting for a second season.
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