The new psychological thriller show You has been turning more heads on Netflix than on its TV run on Lifetime. The show first premiered on Lifetime back in September. However, it didn’t receive much attention until Netflix launched it in December.
Created by Sera Gamble and Greg Berlanti, You is based on Caroline Kepnes’ book by the same name. Joe (Penn Badgley) is the main character but by no means a protagonist. Viewers soon realize that he has many unhealthy habits when it comes to relationships, as he immediately falls for Beck (Elizabeth Lail) when she comes gliding into his bookstore then proceeds to stalk her by following her home and eventually becoming psychotic, going to any lengths to make her his.
While Lifetime’s airing of the show earned it only 1.1 million viewers in the fall, Netflix averaged 40 million within only a month. Whatever the reason for this, it is clear that Netflix will take over the series from now on. Season 2 had already been promised by Lifetime back in July, and Netflix claims that it will air season 2 as part of its Netflix Originals shows. With this move, Lifetime’s only original scripted series will be American Princess. Instead, Lifetime plans on focusing more of its original scripting on films. Impressively, the show hadn’t even aired before Lifetime renewed the second season and Netflix grabbed up rights. This could be do to the unique and relevant nature of the show, with its dark humor mixed with romantic comedy troupes that are simultaneously poked fun at while still appealing to the romantics in the crowd. Rotten Tomatoes rated it at 91%, with critics such as Anna Leszkiewicz giving it rave reviews.
“Its sparklingly cruel sense of humour is what makes it compulsively watchable,” Leszkiewicz noted, adding “through Joe’s sardonic narration, the show displays a rare eagerness to ridicule its own characters.” It has an unprecedented brightness mixed with absurdity and extremely dark moments that make it difficult to watch yet hard to turn away. It also is relevant to the times, with the #MeToo movement, as the main character both advocates for Beck’s singularity and freedom while tying her to needing him in order to achieve these accomplishments.
Netflix gave a nod to the show in their U.S. Twitter bio, which reads: “Passively aggressively calling guys named Joe ‘Joseph’ since 1998.” Whether or not the second season will be as popular as the first remains to be seen. A release date has not been announced.