The Society is dramatic, frustrating, and infuriating to watch.
This post for The Society Season 1 contains spoilers.
It took me about a week to finish watching all 10 episodes of The Society Season 1 (2019, created by Christopher Keyser) after it premiered on Netflix. The show’s hour-long episodes are extremely dramatised and definitely a hundred per cent fictional because there is no way that a bunch of teenagers would be the only humans left on Earth to fend for themselves.
The show is apparently based on a old folk tale called the Pied Piper of Hamelin. The town of West Ham that the people are living in—mostly consisting of privileged kids—has a bad odour that the adults have been trying to get rid of for a while. The teens who were supposed to head off to a camp, suddenly gets drop right back off where they departed. They only realised in the morning that something is amiss, as their parents have been uncontactable and they can’t seem to find a way out of the town. Simply put, it’s as if all life around the kids has disappeared except them and the town.
The Society took me by surprised when it laid down a complete turn of events in “Childhood’s End” (S01E03) when Cassandra (Rachel Keller) (the self-nominated town dictator) was murdered. Her death sparked only more challenges for everyone and her position was succeeded by her younger sister Allie (Kathryn Newton). Newton’s performance here is commendable, but for the most part of the series, she is too serious and stoic.
Despite a huge cast, each individual is given something to do. The jocks become “The Guards” (the name is what you think it is) and walk around with their varsity jackets while pointing guns at others; the nerds become the people who find out what happened to the town and how they can go home; and the rest are just slaves who contribute to the town’s survival. But although there are many characters, not all of them get an opportunity to become fully fleshed out throughout the season.
The way this show is written felt like I was watching an entire season of kids getting hazed by others. It was ridiculous how these, presumably, 16 or 17-year-old teens get to use violence to demand what they want. I also cannot for the life of me understand how these bunch of teens are okay with executing a person (yes, this actually happened!). If watching high school violence on-screen bothers you, it’s best that you avoid watching The Society because you will definitely scream out of anger at whatever device you are watching on.
Furthermore, amidst all the politics the series also tries to incorporate high school romances to make known that even in times of crisis (where they’re worrying about food rations) love is still in the air. And if there are no scenes of teens partying and having sex, then this show probably wouldn’t work well with Netflix’s Instagram theme (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, please give their page a look).
I also see no correlation between the show’s title The Society with the series’ narrative. In fact, if I’m not wrong, I’m pretty sure the word “society” is never once used in the show, which begs to question why name the series The Society? I think a more apt title would be The Order, which is also another Netflix programme. I think both shows can actually switch titles with one another because they are really suitable for the context of both television series.
I’m quite certain this series will return for a second season, and I’m looking forward to it as I want to know what happens to the kids and their parents, given that the finale episode revealed a big tease for upcoming storylines.