The End of the ****ing World premieres January 5th on Netflix.
With a title like The End of the F***king World, you’ll quickly realize whether this extremely dark comedy is for you. After all, the opening line is “I’m James. I’m 17. And I’m pretty sure I’m a psychopath.”
This eight episode show follows James (Alex Lawther) and Alyssa (Jessica Barden), two damaged teenagers, as they run away from home to escape from their sad lives. James constantly has thoughts of murder while Alyssa hates pretty much everyone else in the world, except James. The storyline often switches perspectives between the two protagonists, giving viewers a deeper look into their psyche with voiceover narration. That stylistic decision helps you empathise with their struggles that would otherwise be completely unrelatable. It also doesn’t hurt that the pair have great chemistry.
While the tone of the show is quickly established, the plot takes a little while to gain traction. Despite a very short season, the action heats up only towards the back half. Without getting into spoilers, consider it a three episode pilot. Some of the middle installments are pure filler, which is surprising given the binge-friendliness of the show.
A major flaw is how The End of the F***ing World tries so hard to be edgy. The writing often feels like it’s trying to push boundaries just to get a reaction out of the audience. If the shocking were more organic, the tone would play better. It’s not much of a comedy either, even by dark standards. That being said, the show is still decent, providing a nice counterculture viewing option.
I give The End of the ****ing World a B-.