Euphoria – Season 1 Review

The highly-touted HBO show starring Zendaya has wrapped up season one and unfortunately, leaves much to be desired. Eight episodes of intense scenes and buildup all lead to an ending that should find viewers being offended over the lack of any conclusions to the storylines in the season. There is also way too much going on during each episode. There is never a moment to assess what is going on or whose storyline is the focus for these few minutes. If you are not paying attention, you will be lost in the show’s clutter. At times, the stories were on the brink of delivering a satisfying conclusion and one that gives some intelligence to our high school characters. Unfortunately, this show paints a dangerous caricature of high school life. Let’s be honest here. How much of Euphoria is accurately representative of every day, high school life? In my opinion, very little. The way this show contradicts itself on its stance of drug use is astonishing. One minute, it’s Rue traumatizing her mother and influencing her sister to getting involved with drugs. Another minute, it’s a glorification of drug use at parties and clubs. You cannot have both. Drugs have night and day consequences, rarely positive. Even though this show lacks great storytelling and glorifies many negative aspects of life, it should be praised everywhere else.

Euphoria is one of the most immaculate-shot TV shows I have witnessed recently. The cinematography is hall-of-fame worthy. While dialogue, tone, and storytelling may be wasted for scenes at a time, not one, single frame is wasted. It felt as though every scene was shot with the highest-quality camera, perfect lighting, and the color palettes were set up in a way that gave the atmosphere and location their own character. The acting is superb. Zendaya is one of the most versatile talents today. Going from a Disney Channel superstar, a Marvel character, to this is mind-boggling and she is proving to be someone that can do no wrong at this point of her career. I cannot complain about a single person, in terms of acting. Everyone is outstanding and should be rewarded for any ‘Best Ensemble’ nominations. The soundtracks set the emotional tones beautifully and in a way that should drive you to hold back some tears, especially in the season finale for a particular Donny Hathaway song.

A show can only be executed as well as the writing is and unfortunately, season one of Euphoria failed to deliver a compelling narrative that justifies some of the shock-value scenes. For future seasons, the show needs to shorten the number of focal points while incorporating everyone that has already been established. We do not need multiple storylines in every episode. If this show wants to continue going down the route they did for this season, then seasons need to be extended to ten episodes, similar to Game of Thrones. Characters, great. Cinematography, immaculate. Soundtrack, beautiful. Last, and most importantly, storytelling, messy. Season one of Euphoria can perfectly be summarized as a beautiful monstrosity.

Rating: 6/10

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