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Netflix’s “The Society”

The one-season Netflix series “The Society” follows the lives of the senior class of West Ham High School as they navigate life on their own after the sudden disappearance of everyone in their town. The students learn how difficult life can be on their own—not only in the context of survival but also in learning how to build and maintain a functional society. Equipped with spontaneous comedic relief, intense subplots and complex characters, “The Society” is a chaotic show you won’t be able to look away from. 

‘The Society’ begins by drawing viewers in through suspense and mystery. Not only does everyone in the town of West Ham suddenly disappear, but the teenagers soon discover that their previously suburban town is now completely isolated in seemingly endless woods. Roads abruptly end, and railroad tracks stop. Viewers are left feeling unsettled and nervous for what’s to come. 

A main part of the show centers around the high schoolers trying to establish a system of government. The teenagers struggle to implement something that is functional for their dire situation. It’s easy to get angry at some characters — ones who are openly defiant, unhelpful and harmful to the system. Other characters like Cassandra and Allie take on leadership roles to establish order. It’s interesting to watch how each character reacts to the implementation of certain governmental structures. Some become deeply offended by certain choices, while others don’t seem to care. 

At its core, “The Society” is a commentary on humanity. In the midst of a crisis, the citizens of New Ham discover that survival transcends the simple act of being physically alive. Human needs, understanding, love, community—are of equal importance. Some characters in “The Society” cultivate these intangible necessities by planning social engagements such as school dances and movie nights. Others lean on religion and spirituality, gathering in holy spaces on a regular basis.

Plot twists in the show are frequent and extremely dramatic. Cassandra, who willingly steps up to be the temporary leader of their new society, is murdered one night by an unknown killer. The tension and fear of the New Ham residents radiate through the screen. Ongoing worries and anxieties about running out of food permeate the season throughout. Even the partially happy ending—where an expedition party finds fields to farm and animals to eat—feels meager in comparison to the ever-increasing societal issues of New Ham. 

Although “The Society” is largely a show about a chaotic society with a weak structure, there’s comedic relief through character development. It’s easy for viewers to become invested in the characters and their relationships with one another. The show distinguishes their characters and their traits in obvious manners. Some are kind-hearted and quick to help others. The true intentions and personalities of certain characters are purposefully veiled, adding anxiety and mystery to the high schoolers’ already dire situation. 

Whether viewers look for drama, horror, comedy, or suspense, “The Society” has it all. 

“The Society” is available to watch with a Netflix subscription.

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