Ahmed Mayeesha Reza Agomoni
The story is constructed around the premise of what happens to 200 teenagers when they are deposited in a replica of their hometown, West Ham, followed by a cancelled school field trip with no adults to supervise them. It takes a rather restless night’s sleep for them to conclude that they are left to their own devices, completely shut off from the world. What are the abandoned to do in this sour utopia? Start a…(say it with me) society! How exactly they ended up in this mirror universe is sort of the mystery that haunts this entire series but it gets downplayed in favour of the members of the society, realising that they need to do some fast growing up in order to survive.
The show is incredibly gripping and intense; it locks you in where you begin to root for some characters so much that you wish for a redemption arc, or are extremely proud of them and hate some characters so much that you wish they never existed in the first place. Needless to say, the cast of the show is very talented and you might see some familiar faces, including Kathryn Newton from Pokémon: Detective Pikachu, and Big Little Lies. However, the dialogues, for instance, overuse of the same cuss words may seem a bit off-putting, and it often feels like the writers behind the script have really tried but unfortunately failed to master the “teenage language”.
In the absence of adults to shepherd their actions, the show deals with its fair share of teenage shenanigans—drugs, alcohol and sex, but there are instances where it serves as a cautionary tale. If you can make it through the teenage issues and the teen angst aspect of the show, then, there are certainly elements which are enjoyable. To illustrate, the characters are very well-written and the cast has done an outstanding job in portraying their respective characters which is a testament to their performances.
As the show progresses, we see these characters start to develop similar ideas as to what most people would do in such a scenario adding a sense of realism. The existential question sits at the show’s very core, targeted at both the characters and the viewers. One of the show’s central themes is to put the audience in the characters’ shoes and decide for themselves what decision they would have leaned towards. It makes them question what kind of persons they are, and consider their place and purpose in the world.
There is also significant consideration given to the roles of firearms within society but it seems like the show has taken a rather intransigent stance on this matter. In an interview with Digital Spy, the creator of the series, Chris Keyser, said that he believes this show is not just “for kids” but “also for their parents and other generations”. It seems like parents would seek out this show for its being heavily reliant on dramatics and explosive plot points with loaded teenage devilry rather than complex characters and intelligent storytelling.
The show has potential to revive itself in the next season. The viewers had some questions which were left unanswered in the first season. To the show’s credit, its commitment to explore the big questions—health problems, managing resources, etc were set up brilliantly by the directors and the staff and executed in a rather decent manner. This is a good show and while far from perfect, The Society has found its demographic and holds its head high up in this crowded market.
This show deserves a solid 9 out of 10 watermelons from me.
Agomoni has a bittersweet relationship with speaking Java and convincing her parents to watch soap operas and YouTube with her.