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Review on “The society”

“The society” is a series released in 2019. The series was co-created by Christopher Keyser. “The society” is a modern take on the film “Lord of the Flies”; which is about teenagers in isolation, without grownups and their structures they provide and enforce. They also have to recreate society and despite utopian aspirations,  they learn that our system has many flaws. The genre of this series is a combination between teen drama, mystery and  science fiction. 

The whole story starts in West Ham; a small, quiet town. From the beginning we are introduced to the main characters which are a group of high schoolers and their families respectively. However, almost immediately, we can sense that something is wrong. The town is being slowly ravaged by a protruding smell. The adults decide to send the teenagers on a school trip while they deal with the mysterious problem at hand. The high school students have a surprisingly long bus trip that is interrupted by a storm. This in turn, causes the bus drivers to drop them off at the town square. The buses drive away and the town seems oddly quiet… They go home and suddenly discover something extraordinary. They are alone, there are no adults at home, there is no one around but just them. Moreover, there is no way out of the town because it’s it is surrounded by endless forests and there is no phone signal. They start asking themselves a lot of questions: Where are they? Where is everyone? Where should they live? Why can’t they contact anybody? Who’s in charge? – these questions are left unanswered because they realised that they are alone- which for a bunch of teenagers means endless freedom. That’s why in the first episode they have a rush of an adult-free world, which means partying, sex, alcohol and absolutely no rules or boundaries.  It doesn’t take them a long time to figure out that they can’t live like that. They need order and laws but more importantly they need to create a home without their families which means they need to be the ones in control and due to the tragic events, they need to maintain justice.  

Chaos is born out of the tragedies of the heroes. An endless party and looting of shops begin in the first episode until the voice of reason in the form of Cassandra takes the lead of the community. It is she who gives rise to the creation of rules in new, abnormal conditions. Many do not like it. However, most of the town is on its side, because with the naked eye you can see that things are going in the wrong direction. The heroes have to deal with events that teenagers normally do not even dream of. Disease, hunger, violence and keeping the streets in order so that they don’t  become a nightmare for people who have to keep society in check.

Power is the main focus in this series. Between those who think of collective good and those who think of individual good, between male and female leadership, and between carrot and a stick and forms of social control. Despite its pragmatism for our politics, “The Society” is keen to discuss nebulous concepts like socialism, fascism, and democracy as well as the ease with which benevolent aspirations can go sour. “The Society”  shows the birth of the system – functioning and political transformation. From the self-proclaimed monarchy, through socialism that sometimes hits the communist note, to attempts to introduce democracy and consolidate power, which ends with a coup d’état. And this is the most interesting part of the series. On the one hand, we see how the society reacts to better and worse moves by the authorities, and on the other, we observe how the authorities deal with crisis situations and we evaluate these decisions ourselves. Sometimes bad, controversial, but also often amazingly mature and practical. In this part of the series the writers try to show the temple similar to the “Lord of the Flies”. 

The series tried to provide some serious topics such as the birth of the political system but also provides a lot of emotional grounding, which is common for teen drama, with its romances and make-work projects such as impromptu proms, Thanksgiving and movie nights. 

While watching “The Society” we can also see similarities to the series “The 100”- in which also a group of young people found themselves in a new world without the supervision of adults. The big difference with “The 100” is that it’s way more ruthless, they murder its main characters with impunity, “The Society” manages to maintain suspense with early casualties and threats of violence that give the impression that anything can happen.

“The Society” also has a strong topic of home. Starting off by leaving the typical idea of home, or not especially leaving but more like being cut off completely from their families and their homes. And then being thrown to a place that looks exactly like home but isn’t. They not only start to form an order but also get closer to one another and create their own homes and connections with one another. 

The writers of “The Society” tried to create a modern version of “Lord of the Flies” and they made a strong attempt to do that. At first sight, this series is a typical teenage drama with a lot of high school problems and stereotypical behaviour, but within that, the writers conclude interesting topics about the political system, justice and human behaviour in a society. We can see a development of the characters and them going from crazy teenagers to adults that try to create a community. And all of that wrapped in mysterious circumstances. The only problem with that is we have as many questions at the beginning of the series as we do at the end. We don’t get any answers about what exactly happened. Maybe it was planned for season 2 of this series which unfortunately hasn’t been filmed yet.

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