I’ve come to the conclusion that if a TV show is both creepy and cute, then I will, without a doubt, love it. Death and zombies aren’t really my thing, but throw some romance into the mix and I’m all over it.
So The End of the F***ing World was always going to be a hit with me. Based on the American graphic novel of the same name, the eight-part series originally premiered on Channel 4 and has now been released exclusively on Netflix.
Our antiheroes are 17-year-olds James and Alyssa. James thinks he is a psychopath because he enjoys killing animals and once put his hand in a deep-fat fryer to see if he could feel anything. Alyssa is a rude attention-seeker who deliberately smashed her phone in front of her classmates to shock them. Alyssa wants someone to take her away from her miserable life; James just wants someone to kill. Together they embark on a road-trip-turned-manhunt that proves ultimately fateful for them both.
Despite being set in the UK – unlike its source material – some aspects clearly nod to its American roots. Some of the houses and cars in the show would never be found in a small British town. However, the programme still retains the dark and dry British sense of humour that never seems to translate into shows across the pond.
Over the next 160 minutes we see some subtle, yet beautiful character development which explains why these two outsiders are drawn to each other. I was surprised at just how much my feelings changed towards James and Alyssa as I moved through each episode. Instead of just being two misfits, we see that they are like all teenagers: lonely, different, and looking for their place in a world that has only been cruel to them.
The only part that didn’t quite stick was the romantic subplot between the two police officers hunting down the teens. It kept cropping up, yet was never fully explained or resolved satisfactorily. Every time it cut to their investigation I was desperate to be back on the run with James and Alyssa.
I recommend watching all eight episodes back-to-back – their 20-minute runtime means that the whole series can easily be watched like a film. And this is easily done as you are gripped by James and Alyssa’s situation going from bad to worse.
The deliberately ambiguous ending leaves space for a second series, which has been hinted at by programme creator Jonathan Entwistle. But I feel another series would be bittersweet. I would love to see the next chapter in James and Alyssa’s story; yet, this series is perfect in its entirety, even if the ending drives you crazy.