I was pleasantly surprised when I began Netflix’s latest series ‘You’. The ten episodes I absorbed in two days, fuelled by an almost uncontrollable desire to find out what happens next. Don’t get me wrong – the show is trash. But, we love that for us in 2019. Let’s not confuse a critically acclaimed time with a good time. This is Gossip Girl reborn and I’m living for it.
The premise of the show is as follows – Joe, a bookshop owner (Penn Badgley) meets blonde bombshell Beck (Elizabeth Lail) and knows she is the one for him. The issue? Joe is not really too familiar with where the line of romantic/obsessive is and loves to cross over it.
What this show does well is its complexity. The plot is clever, complicated and extremely engaging. It’s an aeroplane page-turner novel in all its glory – the only difference is it’s on Netflix. Joe himself is an excellent character as you’re on his side half the time despite his questionable actions. In fact, the whole show is like this; no one is inherently ‘good’ and your opinions of all the characters are ever-changing, keeping you on the edge of your seat. Because you don’t know which side is ‘good’ and which is ‘evil’, you are led to some pretty cool moral complications.
Joe’s narration is also really funny, it keeps the plot moving and more relatable as he starts drifting more into insanity. The cinematography is beautiful as well, the sepia tones that echo throughout always make you feel warm and fuzzy – a pretty solid juxtaposition to what’s actually happening.
It has to be said – Joe is literally Dan Humphrey. Obsessive, books, New York, crazy about a blonde – was this intentional?? Surely they had to know their main audience would at the very least make the comparison to Gossip Girl. Still, it works. He is just different enough of a character to reinvigorate it, and where Gossip Girl was pretentious, this was sheer cleverness.
Shay Mitchell also deserves a special mention for her incredible performance as Peach, one of the most bizarre characters in television that helped the plot move along at a steady pace. Paco was also a beautifully pure character in the midst of the madness and I’m sure he will go far as an actor.
The verdict? This is a must-watch. It’s easy to binge your way through, it’s morally complexing enough and very cut-throat funny and tense. An ambitious show, but it works.
Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️