This American young adult mystery drama television series developed by Erica Saleh (Instinct) with Darío Madrona (Elite) serving as showrunner. The series is based on the 2017 novel of the same name by Karen M. McManus and stars Mark McKenna (Sing Street) as Simon, the deceased student, and Annalisa Cochrane (Cobra Kai), Chibuikem Uche (The Tomorrow War), Marianly Tejada (OITNB), and Cooper van Grootel (Mystery Road) as the main suspects, with Barrett Carnahan (Cruel Summer), Jessica McLeod (You Me Her, Death Note), and Melissa Collazo (Freaky) in supporting roles.
Premise: At Bayview High, five students—Simon, Addy, Cooper, Bronwyn, and Nate – are given detention. Simon, known for starting an online gossip group with his friend Janae to snitch on his classmates, suffers a sudden and fatal allergic reaction. The other four students had individual motives and reasons to kill Simon, and after it is determined his death was not an accident, an investigation ensues.
Review: Some of the changes that I noticed in the pilot seemed promising, but as the episodes came they either didn’t work or were outright useless. My guess is these changes were done to keep the book readers guessing, yet part of me thinks that the writers just wanted to make the source material their own and were angling for a second season.
Why give Brodwyn a boyfriend and cut Addy’s sister, Ashton, who was far more important for Addy’s growth? Because the drama involving Brodwyn’s boyfriend was useless he added nothing to the story. And Addy, the character that went from one being someone I didn’t care about to one that I appreciated in the book, just got a haircut. She had no personal growth. The tiny hint of growth we saw for that character was completely erased in the end. The same goes for Cooper, I thought race bending him would’ve brought more commentaries but they did nothing with it. They’ve even cut the relevant commentaries surrounding him and the sport world.
However, the biggest mistake they made was fundamentally changing Simon. He’s a gullible idiot in the show. It almost seemed like none of the writers read the source material, they just took the footnotes and blurb and ran with that. There’s a missed opportunity to talk about mental health, not even a commentary on the rich white straight son of the mayor is exposing other peoples’ secrets because he’s tired of their hypocrisy and entitlement. Are the writers not seeing the problem with that? Or just don’t know how to address it?
The series got steadily worse, halfway through it even became a chore. I won’t even comment on the acting because in my eyes the writing is the biggest problem, it’s dated and a bit lazy compared to what’s done nowadays. Anyway, I’ll admit that they’ve done a decent enough job with Nate and Brodwyn, enough to fool those who won’t notice anything besides that.
In this case I’ll say put down the remote and pick up the book, which is not perfect but much better than this.
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