Starring: Alex Lawther, Jessica Barden, Gemma Whelan, Wunmi Mosaku, Steve Oram.
In October of 2017, Channel 4 broadcast the first episode of a new TV series provocatively titled The End Of The Fucking World, one episode would also be the most they’d terrestrially broadcast of this show, instead sending it to their online only All4 platform where it received little to no promotion and even less attention, that was until now, until Netflix got their hands on it and thank god they did!
An adaptation of Charles S. Forsman’s independent comic book of the same name, TEOTFW is an 8 part series of 22 minute episodes telling the story of a troubled young man called James who believes he may be a psychopath and a young girl called Alyssa who is detached from the world around her but sees something in James and his worldview that captures her attention setting forth a sequence of events that see the pair on the run from the law on a journey to visit Alyssa’s absent father. The tone of the show is deliciously left-field and quirky, delivering it’s subject matter with a knowing sardonic smirk on its face. That subject matter is undoubtedly dark but at its heart lies a quite sweet tale of ill-fated young love between two misfits, drawn together by abandonment & loss, not equipped for the mundanity of this world. TEOTFW has the aesthetic & sensibilities of an off-the-wall, homegrown independent movie, from its quirky delivery to its Graham Coxon soundtrack, it will most certainly entice fans of left-field, beneath the radar cinema.
There is some fantastic talent on display from TEOTFW’s two young leads. Alex Lawther will be familiar to fans of Black Mirror as Kenny from Season 3’s episode Shut Up & Dance. As the emotionally absent James, Lawther has undoubtedly marked himself out as a young talent to watch for the future, bringing a bemused, damaged and ultimately sympathetic turn to the character, a confused young man traumatised by loss. The same can be said of Jessica Barden’s portrayal of Alyssa, an angry young woman embittered & disillusioned with the world after being abandoned by her father seeing a kindred spirit in James, little known to either during their first encounter that they both share a similar pain.
TEOTFW is an absolute gem of a show and one I wholeheartedly advise you check out, a show that Channel 4 seemingly had no idea how to market successfully, a similar fate that befell the equally great Utopia a few short years ago. Thankfully, Netflix knew exactly how to market TEOTFW and the show has the attention and audience it rightfully deserves because for it to have slipped into anonymity due to network mishandling would have been an absolute travesty.