Monthly Archives: January 2018

The End of the F*****g World

Usually, I don’t get super excited about shows that people say “Oh, you should watch this!” or “This is so you”. I have a natural aversion to being told what I will like and by consequence I have probably missed out on things that I would have otherwise enjoyed.

 

Luckily, this weekend I was hanging out with someone who I trust kind of knows what I like, and when he said he’d watched the first episode of something and thought I would really like it, I said sure. And we watched the entire season in one day.

 

There’s only eight episodes of “The End of the F*****G World” on Netflix, and there could have been twice as many and I still would have watched the whole lot at once. It starts out a little bit out there – the opening lines are pretty much a teenage boy’s internal dialogue saying “I think I might be a psychopath”. But what seemed maybe a little superficial at first, actually turned out to be pretty gripping. Two teenagers run away, because both have some aspect of their lives that suck, and they have an adventure. Or a misadventure. The story wouldn’t be nearly as engaging as it was except that the characters don’t just interact with their fellow 2D humans; they think out loud. So there might be some dialogue between Alyssa and James, and then you get to hear what their thinking too. It makes for some pretty dark humour and to be honest there aren’t a whole lot of laugh-out-loud moments after the first episode. But there doesn’t need to be.

 

One of the great things about English humour is that it’s often introspective and self-deprecating, and while throughout the story you end up rooting for the young friends (I’m using the word ‘friends’ here in place of a word I don’t know – you’d have to watch the show and let me know if there even is a single word that can be used to describe their unique relationship without ruining the entire thing), the friends don’t necessarily deserve to be rooted for. Inarguably they do something pretty f****d up things.

 

But it’s a good watch. It’s a great watch. The ending is mind blowing. That’s all I’ll say. It’s a better look at teen dynamics than “13 Reasons Why” (shoot me for that if you want, but I think it is)*, and it’s captivating.

 

*Sidenote: I love “13 Reasons Why”. I think it’s an amazing piece of television and it captures the high school experience pretty darn well. But I find that it’s a little heavy, a little less available to a viewer who might have underlying mental health issues. One of the strengths of comedy is that it brings out guard down and helps us accept things. This couldn’t be utilised in “13 Reasons Why” and that’s not a fault, just an observation.



Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

On the weekend, a friend and I switched on the TV and proceeded to hunt through Netflix’s shadowy halls for something to watch. When an exciting but perplexing trailer played for the second season of something called “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency”, we knew we’d found what we were looking for. Or at least, we knew we really wanted to know what connected the bizarre scenes in the snippets to anything remotely resembling a storyline.

 

So, we searched and found season one. Then we started watching.

 

For those who haven’t seen this amazing and creatively bizarre piece of art, let me just give you a taste – without giving you a single spoiler.

 

The dynamic opening scene is of a flustered young man getting out of bed, insisting he is ‘on his way’ to meet someone on the phone. This would be relatively humdrum if the following major scenes didn’t involve a car being destroyed by a man in his underwear while Elijah Wood insists he’s already paid his rent, a corgi trotting innocently but purposefully down the street, Elijah Wood watching himself stand in a hallway in a floor length Yak hide jacket covered in blood and finally, the perfect summary of the entire story and everything that is whimsical and delightful and befuddling, a crime scene with three dead bodies.

 

But this isn’t any old crime scene. One man is torn in half. One man has his arm torn clean off. One man has his head separated from his body. There are hand prints, not foot prints, made in blood leading to the window. There is a kitten (somewhere). And bite marks in the ceiling.

 

Curious yet?

 

I don’t think I’ve spoiled anything, so I’m going to give myself a pat on the back there. Besides that though, I’m not sure it would even be possible to spoil it. The show is as much about the execution of the characters and the moments as it is about the strange happenings and bizarres to-and-fros between characters. The dialogue is wonderful, a good mix of the usual character building banter and the brilliantly confusing conversations I loved from “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”.

 

And the characters; oh I like them. First you meet Todd. Todd is for all intents and purposes and interesting person, though maybe not from any standpoint other than the bizarre happenings that take over his life in the first episode.

 

Then there’s Dirk (think Matt Smith’s Doctor and then take away that sense of long-life fuelled experience and a knowledge base) and Farah (I won’t spoil her for you) and the military (watch out the Corporal – he’s a delight) and the CIA and the police and the FBI and Todd’s sister and Lux and the Three who are actually four in number… And Bart – don’t forget Bart. The piranha.

 

Overall, I don’t think I could recommend this show highly enough. It’s not for everyone – but nothing is. If you liked the original Hitchhiker’s Guide TV series (not the movie) or even better, the radio play, then you will enjoy this. But buckle up.

 

Wait until the shark turns up.