After seeing all the hype about You on Netflix, I had to cave and binge the show. You – originally a Lifetime series that was cancelled – came onto Netflix in December. Within weeks the show blew up. Good thing Netflix acquired rights to the show, giving it the Netflix golden touch that Lifetime couldn’t achieve.. Assuming this show was a Netflix original, I came in with certain expectations. While I’ve not gotten on the bandwagon of every Netflix series, I do appreciate their product for the most part. Perhaps this was why I found You to be disappointing, but less disappointing when I learned this first season was not originally produced by Netflix.
Heads up, spoilers ahead.
You (based on a 2014 book of the same title by Caroline Kepnes) follows a young man, Joe, who falls in love with a woman, Beck. What an original concept. Like many of us, he does a social media deep dive to learn more about her. Unlike many of us, his very deep dive into her life is what many of us would consider stalking. He cyberstalks and in-person stalks, and, in general, it shows a really scary thing about our society. If anyone wants to find you, they probably can. Not only on the internet but from what we post they can find exactly where you frequent. You highlights how one would go about being a stalker, but also how one might justify to themselves. I’m not sure which aspect causes more concern: the fact that most folks can be easily found or that the person doing the stalking considers it reasonable, especially in the case of this show where Joe sees himself as a savior to Beck. While I find these pieces of the show to be somewhat interesting to think about, the show itself doesn’t just doesn’t deliver. Perhaps it’s the pace of the show, or the lack of quality interactions between the characters, there’s something missing from this show fully achieving it’s potential.
In terms of the quality of the show, I give it a 6/10. I felt like I needed to finish the season, but I wouldn’t watch again. Likewise, the second season will need to have stellar reviews for me to watch. While the acting isn’t campy (see Riverdale), the story is just not super interesting. Yes, the character of Joe is interesting, but the character of Beck was not given the same level of care in the writer’s room as Joe. There’s no real investment in the characters, and not due to a lack of character development. They’re just undesirable characters all around. From Joe, the stalker/serial killer/bookstore manager, to Beck, the love interest of Joe/aspiring poet/graduate student, to Peach the best friend who is secretly in love with Beck/rich girl, no one really draws the viewer to a place where you want to root for them. Joe should have probably gotten caught after he pushed a guy off a building. Beck should stop seeking acceptance from all her rich friends. And Peach…could be nicer.