The End of the F**cking World is not a typical teen drama.
Based on a graphic novel, the upcoming eight-episode series is described as a "darkly comic road trip tale." It follows Alex Lawther (Black Mirror) as James, a self-proclaimed psychopath who wants to graduate from hurting animals into killing humans, and Jessica Barden as Alyssa (Penny Dreadful), a rebel who wants to go on an adventure to find the father who walked out of her life when she was a child.
Alyssa dates James because, as she explains, he is someone who she thinks she can fall in love with. James pretends to fall in love with Alyssa because, well, he wants her to be his first kill.
The series begins with an assault and a theft: James punches his father and then steals his car. What is in between is a lot of cursing, shenanigans, and maybe some life lessons along the way.
Eventually, they also start to develop (non-murderous) feelings for each other. In the trailer, Alyssa admits that she feels comfortable and safe beside James (although, that could change if she knows what he is planning) and James starts to feel things he never felt before.
Steve Oram, Christine Bottomley, Navin Chowdhry, Wunmi Mosaku, and Gemma Whelan also star in the show.
Not Another Teen Series
However, The End of the F**king World sets itself apart not just because of its unusual heroes, but because it says something real about the experience of being young and an outsider.
The series, which already aired in the UK, received glowing reviews because of its depiction of the nuances of teenage angst. A critic from Radio Times compared it to Fleabag, a series about a young woman who tries to navigate the modern life, and The Inbetweeners, also a young-adult series about the friendship of four boys and their high school lives.
"Outcasts at school and at home, James and Alyssa are lost souls desperately crying out for some attention, even if it leads to the police being called," the reviewer wrote. "There's a deeply sad story at the heart of this: both have tortured relationships with their parents, and are so unhappy that they are willing to throw away their lives and start afresh."