Review: “The End of the F***ing World” is F***ing Fantastic


In a promotional photo, James (Alex Lawther) and Alyssa (Jessica Barden) contemplate their next move in Netflix’s series “The End of the F***ing World.” The TV show follows two outcast teenagers, who escape their dull hometown. Image source: Netflix

First off, I should say up front that this is not a show for middle school readers. I’d definitely recommend waiting a few years to binge watch it either as a junior or senior. 

Two teenagers run away together. One is an aspiring serial killer, and the other, a self-destructive girl. Sounds like a recipe for disaster, right? It definitely is — but an entertaining one.

The End of the F***ing World,” a British TV show released exclusively through Netflix earlier this year, tells the story of James (Alex Lawther), a teenage psychopath, and Alyssa (Jessica Barden), a rebellious classmate, who hopes to escape her tumultuous home life.

James, as highlighted in the pilot episode, has been killing animals since he was a young child and is slowly working up to murdering something bigger: a human being. When Alyssa suggests that they flee their uneventful small town, James quickly agrees, seeing the trip as the perfect opportunity to brutally stab Alyssa.

Their mutual disdain for boring suburban life attracts them to one another, and the two teens embark on a crime-filled journey across England while learning new things about themselves and each other. Is the show strange and bizarre? Yes. Is it disturbing? Absolutely. Is it addictive and captivating? Again, absolutely.

I must admit, however, that for the first two episodes, I wasn’t exactly sure what the point of the show was and why I was still watching it. Once I finished episode three, though, I couldn’t stop, and it was then that I realized the purpose of the program. Suddenly, “The End of the F***ing World” became a darkly compelling, somehow comical tale of teen angst and self-discovery. 

The series is based on Charles S. Forsman‘s comic book collection “The End of the F—ing World.” Although the Netflix adaptation might seem to fit the typical serial killer genre in the way that James is the villain, it is actually Alyssa that calls the shots in every other aspect of the show. She is the one who demands that they leave town, she always initiates sex with James and she forces him to go on the lam with her after they encounter an unexpected obstacle while squatting at a wealthy man’s house in the countryside. 

Even though Alyssa is undoubtedly disturbed and a bit insane herself, she’s one of the best female heroines I’ve seen in several years — she’s unconventional, complex, sometimes angry, sometimes happy and always witty. Although she constructs a calm and collected facade for herself, Alyssa is like every other teenage girl — most of the time, she has no idea what she’s doing but figures it out along the way.

One of my favorite parts of the show is that viewers have the pleasure of hearing Alyssa’s inner dialogue — which consists of a lot of stressed, frenzied and often humorous thoughts — when those around her hear none of it and believe her to be relaxed and have everything under control.

Ultimately, “The End of the F***ing World” is the ideal bingeable series with eight episodes running about 20 minutes each. The acting, direction and writing are impeccable. Just like every other part of the show, the soundtrack is fantastic, and the country, classic rock and soul songs sometimes make the audience forget that “The End of the F***ing World” takes place in a modern society. 

Despite the fact that I could easily write about “The End of the F***ing World” for pages, I don’t want to spoil any of the show, so I will leave it up to you to experience it for yourself.

I would highly recommend this series to anyone looking for a TV show that makes you cringe, laugh and feel confused all at the same time. As noted by Common Sense Media, the show is recommended for ages 17+ primarily due to strong language, violence and sexual imagery and references. Nonetheless, here’s to hoping for season two!

  • Story
  • Acting
  • Technical Quality
  • Enjoyment
  • Impact


Released earlier this year by Netflix, “The End of the F***ing World” is an enthralling dark comedy-drama series starring Jessica Barden and Alex Lawther. The show offers eight 20-minute episodes, and season two is up in the air at this point in time.