From House to Dexter, the “quirky psychopath” is a surprisingly popular trope across mainstream television. So it only makes sense that Netflix, the omnipresent streaming service with a show for every genre, would give it a go.
Netflix made a surprise announcement yesterday that The End of the F***ing World will debut internationally this Friday (Jan. 5). The eight-part series, which already aired on Channel 4 in the United Kingdom, follows a 17-year-old boy named James who’s pretty sure he’s a psychopath. He pretends to fall in love with his classmate, Alyssa, with the intention of killing her. But being with her, James says, ”started to make me feel things.”
Reviews for the series when it premiered in the UK last year were generally positive. Research has shown that, despite how Hollywood often depicts them, psychopaths are not impervious to love, and can sometimes even be changed by it.
The show appears to make use of a conceit common to many indie comedies—an aloof, enigmatic man falls for an adventurous woman who shows him life’s worth living. Sometimes disapprovingly called the “Manic Pixie Dream Girl,” this character’s service to the male lead often comes at the expense of her own character development. Hopefully, the series is able to subvert that archetype and give Alyssa more to do than just make a male sociopath feel things for the first time.
The trailer makes one thing very clear: The End of the F***ing World will feature loads of creative cursing, unique to British entertainment. Non-Brits watching the series may need to consult this list of British swears whilst bingeing.