Netflix and (UK) Channel 4’s new dark comedy/drama (does this show really have a proper category?) The End of the F***ing World is a boy-meets-girl story all right, but it’s not typical. In fact, this show is so far from typical I can safely say that I’ve never seen anything like it, and that’s an impressive feat.
The closest thing I can maybe compare it to would be Black Mirror, but that could just be because the lead is played by Alex Lawther, who once appeared in a Black Mirror episode — “Shut Up and Dance,” it is one of my favorites. It’s not like Black Mirror in that it’s about the future or technology or any kind of syfy really, it’s just like Black Mirror in that you don’t know how dark it can get until it does, and even if you expect something bad to happen, you aren’t ready for how bad it actually gets.
So let’s back up — what’s the premise of a show called The End of the F***ing World? Well it’s based off a comic book by the same name, and the (absolute, most) basic premise is that James is a 17 year old self-proclaimed psychopath, and he meets Alyssa. She’s also psychotic, but not the same kind of psychotic as James. They form an unlikely bond. Alyssa decides she wants to be in love with James. James decides he wants to kill Alyssa.
From there things just get weirder. In the spirit of keeping this review spoiler free, I’ll just say that things don’t go as planned. For either of them.
Ok, so we know this show has a super bizarre set up, but does it pay off? First of all, the acting and production on this show is very well done. I need to give due credit there. As for the story… it was ok. It kept me interested the whole time, I wanted to know where things were going because I genuinely could never guess, and the short 18 – 22 minute episodes made it really easy to watch. It wasn’t the most glorious show I’ve ever seen, but I definetely have to give it props for what it manages to do with such a strange mix of guidelines. It’s like being handed some flour and an oven and asked to make a cake — you’ve got two key ingredients, but you’re going to have to get creative about the rest.
What I really liked about this show was that it played into the way the audience thought the situation might go. It never wanted you to spend too much time trying to figure out what’s going to happen next, it just wants you to enjoy the (extremely) wild ride. It also doesn’t want you thinking too hard about “What kind of show is this? What are they allowed to do?” The show, like its main characters, doesn’t care what anyone thinks of it or what anyone wants it to be. It just is what it is. And that means that sometimes it’s really heartfelt, and other times it’s completely f***ed up.
I would say that in order to enjoy this show you have to do what I did — go in completely blind and with no expectations. In that way, it really shines. If you try to get too in depth about what it’s all supposed to mean, you’re going to get left in the dust.
Final Score: 7.5/10
Tell Us: Have you watched TEOTFW? What do you think — brilliant, or completely bonkers?