When “The End of the F***ing World” popped up as suggestion on Netflix, I did not think I would like it and merely put it on as something to watch in the background, as something that would not distract me from all the things I needed to do.
I was wrong.
Each episode is only twenty minutes, which makes it even easier to repeatedly kid yourself “only one more episode”, which we all know is a lie as common as ticking the box to promise “I have read all the terms and conditions”.
The series is based on a comic book by Charles Forman, and originally aired on Channel 4 back in October, but has become more popular since it was added to Netflix. It tells the story of two outcast teenagers, James and Alyssa, who have vastly different personalities, but share a hatred of their claustrophobic situations at home. The casting of the characters is perfect – Jessica Barden takes on the role of the fiery Alyssa, while James is played by Alex Lawther who is recognisable from his role as the young Alan Turing in The Imitation Game, or more recently from starring as one of the leads in the eerie “Shut Up and Dance” episode from series three of Black Mirror.
The two set out on a road trip, which is made interesting by the fact that James is a self-professed psychopath on the lookout for a bigger target than the animals he’s previously killed and has a knife stashed away in his trouser leg. At the same time, Alyssa keeps pushing boundaries until their innocent attempt to escape takes an unnerving turn into a spiral of crimes that pushes the characters into a period of self-discovery and sees their turbulent relationship grow.
The Peep Show-esque filming technique, which switches between the character’s perspectives, aids the development of the leading roles. As the episodes progress, it becomes obvious that they are not just a want-to-be murderer and angry teen, but instead just lost, bewildered, and in need of direction. At the same time, the show manages to address vital issues in a very tactful and light-hearted manner, such as Alyssa’s poignant display of what sexual consent actually is.
With a great soundtrack, cast and storyline, it is no wonder that “The End of the F***ing World” has already received positive feedback from critics, (it also currently holds the title of the most popular series on Rotten Tomatoes) or that talk of a second series is up in the air.
Image Credit: NME