By Gabriella Gerace
Depictions of high schools in TV and film are included in some of the most intense and delightfully over-the-top forms of entertainment. A lot of those shows shed light on the humorous aspects of adolescence, while others take a more dramatic route.
High school dramas like “Riverdale” often include stories about mysteries or kidnappings — the new Netflix series “Élite” also tells one of those dark tales, but with a fresh take on what I find can be an overused genre.
First aired on Oct. 5, “Élite” has already proven to be a show loved by audiences of all ages for its refreshing take on a high school drama. It is Netflix’s second original Spanish series, and it puts a European twist on shows like “Gossip Girl” and “13 Reasons Why.”
The drama initially begins when the town’s public school mysteriously falls to rubble. In order to save face, the company that constructed the school offered three students a full scholarship to Las Encinas, a private prep school in Spain. As expected, the change in setting brings with it new rivalries and romances galore.
The differences in lifestyles also result in murder, and the details of the crime are gradually revealed as the season progresses. As the events leading up to the tragedy unfold, each characters’ choices and secrets are revealed.
Over the course of eight episodes, Samuel (Itzan Escamilla) and his brother Nano (Jaime Lorente) enter a love triangle with the wealthy and troubled Marina (Mária Pedraza). Marina’s brother Guzman (Miguel Bernardeau) grapples with his sister’s choices and the estrangement of his friend group, which he believes is caused by the new scholarship students.
The romance follows the typical rules of a love triangle, but also allows for discussion of taboo issues even beyond those usually included in teenage shows.
“Élite” also does a rather successful job at exploring experiences of high school other than romance, like class and privilege, through a lens that does not ever begin to feel like glorification, demonization or even commentary on the high school experience.
“Élite” is a worthy show to add to your watch list. With a succinct yet thoroughly enjoyable and nerve wracking first season, viewers can expect an engrossing story in each episode.