Netflix’s new series, The Society, talks about power in the vein of several recent dystopian young-adult dramas–CW’s The 100, and FOX’s Wayward Pines, for example.
Both these dramas navigated around such themes by utilizing teenagers at the maneuver, exploring the political landscape with both their fragile and irascible curiosity; a manner through which The Society is similarly woven.
To a Lord of the Flies addict, this effort is compelling enough to create engagement, but there are flaws that persistently mar the integrity of this Christopher Keyser-written series.
In the series, approximately 200 teenagers are stuck in a place they suspect to be the exact replica of their hometown. But there is a twist: there is no way out and the parents are not around.
Such is an immediate nod to ‘Flies,’ where a group of young boys got stuck in an uninhabited island. In The Society, the main players are young grown-ups (though potentially less manageable), but there are more difficult struggles when it comes to the way they exercise power. Young and ambitious, them at the reins is potentially cataclysmic when somebody with a selfish motive decides to take over. And I won’t be a spoiler when I say there will be one.
At the beginning, pinpointing the ones needing straight away attention, can be a real challenge. The build up of the story plays in a slowburn manner that it feels obliged to touch every single potential lead in the narrative. There are few stand outs, fortunately, whom you may want to pay extra attention to, should you wish to follow the direction the story may be tracking. Rachel Keller‘s Cassandra, for one, is a strong figure who immediately steps up to bring the wearisome population under some sense of organization.
It is a rough start for everybody, especially with the intrusion of Harry (Alex Fitzalan), whose arrogance seems primarily driven by the fact that he is one of the rich kids in town.
Midway into the first season, some depths are uncovered as the script further digs into the political layers of the story. There is a persistent sense of not getting anything sensible out of this attempt, given how incredibly unreliable the ones at the reins are, but audiences may consistently get blown away by how some lead players can surprise sometimes, with just one shift of tone at the right moment.
Those right moments are generally thrust into attention when the story picks up some salient themes that perfectly mirrors the structures of current governments, particularly our own, where questions about corruption and abuse of power, are incessantly raised. It is hard to picture with ease, young adults addressing these concerns, but in The Society, they make one cogent portrait that effectively keeps audiences interest, tightly fixed.
While movement and action make up the main fuel that keeps The Society’s engine roaring, themes and tones sustain the direction of the story, that without them, it is impossible to believe the show will eventually arrive at a satisfying destination.
Actors are not a strong selling point but most of who they play are well-written enough to earn faithful observers who will surely join their journey in the next season.
Also, the fact that the very structure of the narrative is striking enough to mimic the events of our own political affairs makes The Society an even more attractive exercise than it already looks, from the surface.
Also in the cast are Kathryn Newton, Kristine Froseth, Sean Berdy, Jacques Colimon, Gideon Adlon, Toby Wallace, Natasha Liu Bordizzo, Jose Julian, Alex MacNicoll, Jack Mullhern, Grace Victoria Cox, Salena Qureshi
5 – Excellent
4 – Very Good
3 – Good
2 – Tolerable
1 – Terrible
The Society begins streaming on Netflix staring May 10
Watch the full trailer below: