Originally airing on the USA Network, the cheerleading drama Dare Me is now streaming on Netflix. Cancelled after one season, it’s found a new home at the streamer in hopes of reaching more viewers, via Collider. But even though it’s now available on Netflix, Dare Me is destined to be a one season wonder as it remains cancelled with no indications otherwise.
A glittery noir thriller, Dare Me follows a high school cheerleading squad full of ruthless teenage girls and potential murder. Putting a feminist twist on the All-American cheerleader, Dare Me pulses with complicated friendships, suspense, and violence. Despite receiving critical praise, the series was ultimately cancelled by USA Network.
Based on the book by Megan Abbott (The Fever), Dare Me takes place in a dying midwest Rust Belt town where the football team always loses and the cheerleading team is always perfect. The series centers on a complicated friendship between two teenage girls on the cheerleading squad, Addy Hanlon portrayed by Herizen Guardiola (The Get Down) and cheer captain Beth Harmon, portrayed by Marlo Kelly (Patricia Moore). A wedge gets thrown in between them when a new coach arrives, Colette French. Played with calculated coolness by Willa Fitzgerald (Scream), her untraditional leadership unintentionally stirs something dangerous within the girls on the team and town that cannot be undone.
Hailed by critics who favored it over other teen melodramas such as the CW’s Riverdale and HBO’s Euphoria, Dare Me never had the viewership to back it up. Variety called it,“ a wicked thriller that practically demands that its audience gorge upon it. It’s lush and seductive, a fact that it’s both aware of and uses to chilling effect.” The New York Times review noted that HBO decided to pass on the series, ultimately choosing the dreamy teen drama Euphoria instead, writing: “ ‘Dare Me,’ ended up at USA, and the 10-episode season that begins Sunday — sexier and more mysterious than the sometimes glibly nihilistic “Euphoria” — shows that first choice isn’t always best.”
Dare Me also takes on the typically glossy and idealized cheerleader and turns them into athletes, creating an intense sports drama. There are brutal sequences that show what goes into creating pyramids and back flips. It no doubt helps that Netflix also released its Emmy Award winning documentary series Cheer this year about elite competitive cheerleaders at Navarro College in Texas.
First premiering in December 2019, Dare Me’s final episode aired on March 8, 2020. Sometimes appearing as a dream and other times a nightmare, the first and only season contains 10 hour-long episodes which are now all streaming on Netflix.
If you need help deciding whether to indulge in Dare Me, watch the trailer below: