TV Review: The Society (2019-)


A group of teenagers struggles to survive after they’re mysteriously transported to a replica of their wealthy town with no trace of their parents. The new Netflix YA drama puts teens in charge of their wealthy town, and things get real dark, real fast.

Have you noticed how many books and TV shows have taken the Lord of the Flies premise and run with it? This outing is definitely above average and despite coming across as a YA version of Stephen King’s The Dome it holds its own with above average acting, an intelligent plot (once you get over the initial ‘how it happened’ piece) and a decent take on the “what ifs” – what if there were no adults, what if there was limited food, what if there was nobody to enforce the rule of law, etc.

The use of strong female and male characters to examine how a group of teenagers would cope if isolated from the world in a limited space with dwindling resources is quite compelling when delivered through a well-written script and plausible levels of conflict. The decision not to ignore the shock and sadness element of the story but to place more emphasis on the interaction between characters under pressure was a good one and prevented this series from getting blurred with other movies, books or TC series of a similar nature (and there have been a few – Micahel Grant might want to keep an eye on this series to make sure some of his Gone series doesn’t creep into the plotline).

My only quibble is the weak attempt to make the show look like it acknowledges diversity by adding some people of colour and even some religious diversity (there’s at least one muslin girl complete with hijab – but just one). It feels like ticking a box because it appears everyone in the town of West Ham (British viewers will find that name a bit disconcerting I imagine) come from a similar middle-class background. Although one prominent black character does have an abusive father but isn’t actually from the town and still looked like disadvantage never knocked on his door or stayed there for long.

I enjoyed the show and look forward to series 2 (assuming there will be one).

 

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