Another teen drama on Netflix? Is Elite trying to break the stereotypical ‘trashy’ mould of this genre or is it just another one to add to the pile? Whilst by no means a technical masterpiece, Elite is one of those oddly satisfying, binge-worthy series that teen drama is known for and that we’re all familiar with.
This addictive new series, a Netflix original, combines high-school drama with murder-mystery. The story follows a group of working-class students who have been admitted to a prestigious school, Las Encinas, after their own school collapses. Viewers are plunged into two parallel narratives throughout the series: one which follows the new students journey into Spanish upper-class life and a second which sees each character being interviewed by the police after one character, Marina (Maria Pedraza), is victim to a brutal murder encased in mystery.
Although the mystery in Elite is well presented, the journey to reveal the murderer immediately becomes encompassed by a number of character issues. As Marina proceeds to make enemies throughout the series, the abundant reasons why the characters would want to kill her soon become apparent to the viewers. Whilst it should be applauded that a teen drama is addressing real-life social issues – a character with an STI, a drug problem, an unwanted teenage pregnancy, social exclusion and a difficult love-triangle – it all gets too confusing and too much, far too quickly. The creators have overwhelmed this series with an abundance of themes that do not always add substance; these social issues should have been toned down in order to let the mystery take hold, as they have no real part to play in the actual plot.
Themes presented in the early episodes – such as class division and religious adversity, quickly become overlooked as the all-encompassing murder-mystery takes lead. This is another prime example of the writer trying to introduce too many themes. Despite this, Elite’s new take on the teen-drama genre is definitely interesting, following in the footsteps of previous successful Netflix series, Riverdale and 13 Reasons Why, and is certainly worth viewing this Autumn.