For various reasons, lately I’ve had a really hard time sinking into a show enough to truly enter binge territory. I kept stopping an episode or two in and wandering away and then forgetting about the show completely.
Until I stumbled on The Society.
Season one is on Netflix right now and it’s… really, really good. The basic premise is that something happens to a group of teens in this small town and everyone else disappears. The paths out are grown over with trees. The one group who tries to leave meets enough misfortune to force them to turn back. They are well and truly trapped.
Bring on the “holy crap, how do we survive?!”
I’ve been describing this show as Lost meets Michael Grant’s Gone series, but without all the trauma of little kids being involved.
Still unconvinced? Prepare yourself for me fangirling out on why you should give this show a shot!
The characters are straight up excellent
All of the characters are fully fleshed out, and most of them have a level of nuance that’s just delicious. No one is fully good or bad. They’re just kids who were on the verge of graduating and leaving this small town and their classmates behind for good. Most of them had every intention of never coming back, of fully embracing the big, wide world of college and beyond. And now they’re suddenly…stuck. Do they evolve? Do they cling to the personas and status they had in high school? That push and pull is a key element in this show and it’s part of what makes it so compulsively watchable. It’s so freaking relatable.
You see the tropes you’re familiar with when it comes to shows featuring teens. The icy queen bee. The younger sister who lives in the queen bee’s shadow. The rich kid who’s always ruled the school and known exactly where he stands in life. The pretty girl who’s only ever been…pretty. The star quarterback who’s dated the pastor’s daughter forever. The kid on the outskirts. And so many more.
There’s really only one truly evil person in this show. The rest are all shades of human, and that’s my kind of cast of characters.
It touches on some heavy topics, but does it without crossing the line
It would be really easy to go for shock value with this kind of set up. Rape and pillage and murder and abuse of power, oh my! Very Lord of the Flies, New Englander edition.
The Society dodges that neatly. For the most part, all these kids really do want to survive and they’re willing to do what it takes to make it happen.
The show contains one of the most carefully handled abusive relationships I’ve seen lately. You see it in its inception, how carefully the abuser manipulates his partner. And you see how it slowly escalates. With one exception, all of it happens off camera, which I appreciate. It doesn’t feel gratuitous at all.
The other thing that isn’t heavy, exactly, but it a topic I haven’t seen touched on much in shows like this—menstruation. People with uteruses have it, and seeing it touched on was a weird kind of delightful. Yes, people still get periods after their world has ended. Who knew?!
The plot has layers of several mysteries
How did these kids get to this place? Is it their world or another? What was with the smell that encased the town in the days leading up to what happened?
I have my own theories about this (there are definite Pied Piper tones, which make my fairy tale loving heart stupid happy), but the kids all work throughout the season for answers. All they really want is to get home.
Under this larger mystery, there is another that plagues the show through most of the first season. A character is murdered, and they have to find the killer and figure out how to punish them. After all, there have to be rules or their society falls apart.
Except… who enforces these rules? How do they live with themselves afterward? How can they grapple with the things they need to do in order to get power and keep it, all in the name of maintaining the lives of all the teenagers living in this town?
Those are the questions really at the center of this show, and they’re what make it one I binged over the course of a weekend.
If you dig shows with teenagers in out of this world settings, amazing characters, and very real stakes, The Society is for you! You should definitely check it out!