The End of the F***ing World is a small, dark and funny Channel 4/Netflix comedy-drama that's exploded to massive critical acclaim. While it's great that a small, dreary, British thing can suddenly reach huge global attention (a bit like Simon Pegg), The End of the F**king World is better left well alone.
Across eight tight episodes that never top 22 minutes, the show follows new teen couple James (Alex Lawther) – who you might recognise from that equally dark Black Mirror episode – and Alyssa (Jessica Barden) as he plots to kill her. You see, poor James has pegged himself as a psychopath and wants to pop his murder-cherry with her.
What begins as a loathsome duo of entitled 17-year-olds soon becomes a tale of star-crossed lovers – or rather just cross lovers – who are surrounded by awful adults, and you'll be shipping them harder than Jon and Daenerys.
So why wouldn't anyone want more of that? Well, because it'll get ruined. The End of the F***ing World is based on an mini-comic (with a darker ending) by Charles Forsman. The show ends in the same place as the comic, albeit with a slightly more ambiguous ending, so there's no more source material to use.
Sure this would allow the show's writer, Charlie Covell, to build her own bleak adventures in a second season, but given the show's almost definitive ending, where could it possibly go?
*Spoilers for End of the F**king World after the picture.*
Charting James' prison time with occasional visits from Alyssa would be one option. But the main power of the show was the couple's chemistry, so separating them would surely be a mistake and could only lead into ludicrous prison-escape territory.
The other option, as we previously noted, would be a time jump. Both actors are actually far older than their on-screen selves: Alex is 22 while Jessica is 25, so we could feasibly fast-forward into his character James' on parole.
However the pair's rebellion against the oppression of awful parentage, suburban monotony and harrowing child abuse would have a very different tone as adults. It might be harder to sympathise if they're still in the same place ten years later.
It's also worth noting that in just under three hours the show charts neglect, drugs, suicide, paedophilia, mental health, sexual assault, rape and murder – how much darker can it get?
The End of the F**king World episodes clock in at incredibly short run-times, while the season notches up a classically lean British count of eight. If Netflix/Channel 4 commission a second season, then American bloating to 12 or more could follow, if not a longer runtime. In an age where there's more good television to watch than waking hours in the day, a slick, funny and one-shot show like this is a blessing.
Netflix has a track record of reviving and rebooting shows – but it's not always for the better. When they acquired another one of our similar shows, Black Mirror, we got more episodes, more budget, bigger actors and lots more America, but not necessarily a better show, hence our suggestion that they too should quit while they're ahead (though that was mostly because we want the supremely talented Charlie Brooker to try something else.)
Netflix's Black Mirror takeover gave us bittersweet episodes like 'San Junipero', 'Nosedive' and 'Hang The DJ'. That's fine, but it's also fine if something is so dark you can't see the bottom. End of the F***ing World delivers a gentle warmth between Alyssa and James in a world where there's none. That's enough.
13 Reasons Why was another show based on a book with a very definitive end – and despite the main character, y'know, being dead, they're ploughing on with a second season anyway. It seems that's simply because people really liked it.
The trouble with making great TV or movies now is that some executive is immediately going to want a sequel, or even worse, a franchise. In the past shows got out while the going was good – now we're already eyeing a Game of Thrones spin-off before we know how the original even ends. Everyone knows True Detective should have stopped with season one and Big Little Liars looks to be another candidate for an unnecessary sequel.
So come on, let The End of the F***ing World be just that. The fucking end.
You Might Also Like