Why You Should Watch "The End of the F***ing World"

If you haven't already binge-watched the Netflix original series The End of the F***ing World, then you are seriously missing out. The first season of the show, which became available in October 2017, immediately captured the attention of streamers. The show is, in a word, a true modern masterpiece.

The plot, based on a series of graphic novels by the same name, follows the journey of two seventeen-year-old misfits, James and Alyssa, as they travel across England in an attempt to outrun their demons and meet up with Alyssa’s estranged father. This description probably sounds a lot like one of those John Green novels that were super popular a few years back, however, any implication of light teenage hijinks are quickly removed within the first 15 seconds of the show. The opening shot, which consists of James sitting in a room with dark paneling, staring intensely to the side of the camera, begins with the narration “I’m James. I’m seventeen. And I’m pretty sure I’m a psychopath”. Are you intrigued yet? I know I definitely was.

In a format that will be continued throughout the entirety of the show, the first episode takes time to introduce you to both James and Alyssa through limited conversational dialogue and a great amount of introspective narration. Though the use of narration in media is widely viewed as a tired way to convey information to the audience, TEOTFW successfully walks the line between narration and action. This success is used to highlight the dichotomy between what we think and what we tell to others, a theme that is brought up in interesting ways throughout the series. In addition to its masterful storytelling, TEOTFW makes excellent use of its dark humor in order to explore difficult topics including love, family, morality, death, and grief. Despite the feeling of impending tragedy that follows the two protagonists as they try to run from the inescapable, the show also does an excellent job of pacing. Though there are without a doubt some very intense scenes, these are matched by moments of a more lighthearted nature.

To add the final touches to a well written and executed show are the outstanding set design/costuming as well as the actors’ incredible performances. While the show is set in modern times, the set designers/costumers did an excellent job of creating a feeling of timelessness and nostalgia through rather ambiguous styles and retro music. I personally love the soundtrack which consists mainly of 1960s pop/folk music. Each song is strategically placed to heighten both the drama and irony of any given scene. Additionally, the original song written for the show “Walking All Day” by Graham Coxon is honestly super catchy and perfectly fits the quirky nature of TEOTFW. Finally, the show certainly couldn’t be what it is without the performances of the two leads Jessica Barden and Alex Lawther. Barden and Lawther really bring their characters to life and ensure that, in a show, where much of the acting is carried out through body language, that James and Alyssa do not become two dimensional.

If you have not already watched The End of the F***ing World, I hope that by now I have convinced you to give it a try. With a total of two seasons, eight episodes each at only 20 minutes long, this is easily the binge-worthy show you have been searching for to distract you from midterms.

Image Sources: 1, 2, 3