Based off of the short film and graphic novel of the same name, The End of the F***ing World, a new Netflix original series, tells the story of two British teens: Alyssa and James. James believes he is a psychopath, however, the only way he can know for sure is if he murders someone. This is when he meets Alyssa.
Alyssa is a new girl at James’ school. During lunch, Alyssa feels particularly drawn towards James. “I don’t trust people who fit in,” Alyssa states boldly in a voiceover during the first episode of the series. James is clearly the perfect fit for Alyssa’s ideal friend, with his disturbing hand that he deep fried when he was eight-years-old and his overly-grown, bushy eyebrows. But when she approaches James for the first time, James instantly decides that she will be his first victim.
Alyssa has other plans – – she wants a love story. With her hard-headed personality and fearless wit, it’s difficult for James to see that Alyssa wants more than just a friendship with him. That, and the fact that he claims he doesn’t feel any emotions. Ultimately, the two end up “going out” with one another, each pursuing their own individual goals and the common goal of escaping their current realities.
Several things happen along the way to Alyssa’s father’s home, including a car crash, a murder, and a robbery. As the two teens struggle to accomplish their goals, they begin to fall in love and learn more about who they are as individuals.
This series was hard to criticize because of its peculiar plot and even more peculiar characters. Each episode is only about 20 minutes long, making this show the perfect weekend-worthy binge that leaves you on the edge of your seat wanting more. However, there were many times where I personally had to take a break because of the graphic content some of the episodes showed such as blood, car crashes, dead bodies, etc.
The graphic violence was one of the main reasons why I did not feel strongly about giving this show full five-out-of-five stars. There were no content warnings at the beginning of the episodes, which were packed with gore-filled scenes. There also was a lot of things I felt were questionable, like the fact that James and Alyssa’s relationship totally romanticized mental illness.
There could have been a better way for the creative directors to show how James changed/grew as a person other than the stereotypical love story narrative. Towards the end of the series, James begins to admit how he only started feeling things after he started spending more time with Alyssa and the two’s relationship began to grow. This anecdote is a common solution artists (be it directors, scriptwriters or authors) like to use in modern media because it is a common misconception that falling in love or being in a relationship will help solve people’s problems or personal struggles when in reality, relationships don’t do that and sometimes can even make people’s problems worse.
Despite some flaws, overall I enjoyed the show and it’s quirkiness along with the excellent cinematography and unceasingly fascinating plot. This show should definitely be on your Netflix to-watch list.