Review – The End of the F***ing World (TV-MA)

Matt Troher, A&E Editor

The End of F***ing World is exactly as the title suggests; angsty, dramatic, and all-around entertaining.

Odd enough to be enduring, but not overly quirky for the sake of relevance, the eight-episode Netflix series follows self-proclaimed psychopath James (Alex Lawther), and foul-mouthed nihilist Alyssa (Jessica Barden). James becomes bored with his usual activities and plots to kill Alyssa. Alyssa thinks James would be interesting to fall in love with. The two then act as the fuel to each other’s fires, embarking on a cross-country road trip, living life lawlessly along the way.

Although each episode is roughly twenty minutes long, the amount of character development packed into each story is something to admire. Each episode is paced perfectly, driven by dialogue, leaving no room for filler. Episodes flow seamlessly from event to event without rushing, turning the eight-episode long series into a film of sorts.

The show, through its sharp comedic dialogue often acts as a social commentary, touching on topics such as love, loneliness, and ethics in law enforcement. A pitch-black comedy, End of the World is vulgar, powerful, and captivating at the same time. A majority of the lines are delivered in the classic British deadpan style, and may not land on the audience the first time around, inviting itself for multiple viewings. 

Despite the story that is the backbone of any show, the production design of “End of the World” is what makes it stand out. Cinematography, done by Justin Brown, is reminiscent of a Wes Anderson film (think Moonrise Kingdom). Every shot is a compositional masterpiece, with the rule-of-thirds being used, and broken, to each shot’s advantage.

When done well, costuming usually doesn’t stand out, but in “End of the World”, the costuming perfectly fits the show’s cultivated aesthetic and becomes memorable in the audience’s mind. James’ red Hawaiian shirt has already become an iconic symbol of the show.

Everyone knows music can be used as a tool to help the story, but “End of the World” proves it. The show uses an eclectic mix of 60’s doo-wop and modern indie, as well as an original soundtrack by Graham Coxon, guitarist and backup vocalist of the critically acclaimed Britpop band Blur. Songs such as “Laughing on the Outside” by Bernadette Carroll, and the sparse “We Might Be Dead by Tomorrow” by Soko perfectly encapsulate the emotions of the show, proving that the soundtrack serves as an extension of the show’s impact.  

Presented in eight bite-sized episodes, along with a captivating storyline, End of the World is sure to be one of 2018’s most binge-worthy shows and is one of the most endearing shows Netflix has to offer.