The Society review: The things we do to survive

THE SOCIETY -- Seacia Pavao/Netflix -- Acquired via Netflix Media Center
THE SOCIETY -- Seacia Pavao/Netflix -- Acquired via Netflix Media Center /

The Society is Netflix’s most recent YA drama, delivering a stark look at the things people will do to survive.

If you’ve seen The 100, you’ll know what happens when you put a group of teens in a world without adults. You know what it’s like to create a new society with a group of hormonal and, sometimes, awful teenagers trying to manage life. The Society looked like it could be just another one of those shows but has become something much bigger and better.

Netflix’s YA drama starts off with a mystery to solve but becomes something completely different. In fact, it doesn’t really matter about the mystery as life just goes on. The Society starts with a group of teens heading out on a school field trip onto to return early to an empty town. It’s completely empty and there’s nothing put the town — it’s soon clear that only forest surrounds it.

The group of teens soon have to figure out how to live together. With only the food in the grocery store available, they need to figure out a plan to survive. It’s not a society where everyone can fend for themselves. They all either work together or die. And yes, death is part of the series.

Within the first episode, there’s a character death to show the dangers of the outside world. By the third episode, there’s a major character death, pushing forward for Kathryn Newton’s Allie to take the leadership role, even if she doesn’t want to. Everyone is pushed to the edge, people who have never liked each other need to survive, and when some kill others there needs to be a serious punishment.

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While so many other dystopian shows focus on the enemies around or on different factions, The Society quickly moves on and pulls us back to history. How did colonies get started? How have societies developed and succeeded?

One of the most realistic elements is how the teenagers make some ridiculous decisions but there are always some who know more than others. Each person has a skill, whether it’s the ability to feed a town full of people, teach self-defense, or figure out a way to make a society run. Bad calls are made but they each work through them — and can we really expect a group of teens to make all the right decisions? Hell, even adults wouldn’t be able to deal with something like this!

Of course, there are also some who don’t want to play by the rules set. Some will murder, some will steal, and some just don’t want to do the jobs they’re given (this society does have a communist regime). Those who don’t abide by the rules are punished in various ways depending on the rules they break. We get an excellent look at how a society would likely work out with a bunch of teens running the world.

At the same time, there are thoughts of families and what people have lost. There’s a moment where two of the characters are talking of marriage. The girl is in her mom’s wedding dress talking about how she looks almost like her mom. The only person happier on her mom’s wedding day was her grandmother and that makes her sad. We get this reminder of what it would be like if we were just suddenly taken away from our parents.

There are constant threats of this society breaking down. There’s tension bubbling beneath the surface. Sometimes that tension turns into murder and sometimes it’s an initial chaos that is quickly controlled. However, despite plenty of quieter moments, it’s still an entertaining ride that certainly needs a second season.

What did you think of The Society? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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