Of course, not all beloved Netflix series receive the same level of success. I Am Not Okay with This, The End of the F***ing World, and On My Block, were all canceled after generating plenty of Netflix-related buzz. Among the unfortunately long list of series that were canceled too soon is The Society, a mystery with a Lord of the Flies-like premise that uncovers the truths of human nature.
The Society premiered on Netflix in 2019 with 10 episodes that introduced the newfound trouble a group of Connecticut teens now find themselves in. Following the initial success of the series, it was renewed for a second season a few months after its premiere. However, the COVID-19 pandemic would halt the production of hundreds of films and television series around the world. In order to continue with production during the pandemic, studios had to implement a number of costly safety precautions to guarantee the well-being of those on set. These additional costs along with a few other factors led to Netflix canceling the series in 2020.
Since its cancellation, fans of The Society have rallied behind the series, hoping that Netflix would pick the series back up. Thus far, their attempts have seen little success with the streaming platform, but their request isn't ill-founded. In fact, The Society had plenty of potential to become one of Netflix's leading dramas if it had been given the chance. Its exploration of survival, power, morality, and the diversity amongst its cast is something that Netflix (or any other streaming service) could expand upon and celebrate.
The Lord of the Flies-style scenario of The Society begins with a school field trip that already begins to show the troublemakers and other classic teen tropes. As the bus departs from the town of West Ham, a storm strikes. As they near their destination, the bus driver finds that the entrance has become blocked. The bus full of moody teens is brought back to West Ham that night, only to discover that everyone else in the town is missing. The next morning, they explore the eerie atmosphere and discover that their town is now surrounded by a dense forest that restricts all travel.
As expected, the group of teenagers fail to see eye to eye on what they should do. Some opt to celebrate their newfound freedom and throw several high-scale parties. Others realize the direness of the situation and what this could mean for them in the long run. Without the ability to receive deliveries of medication and food, many realize that if not properly allocated, their resources will dwindle quickly. In an attempt to get everyone on the same page, Cassandra (Rachel Keller) fulfills the role of the group's leader. Naturally, not everyone is pleased with the choice. Cassandra's younger sister Allie (Kathryn Newton), who has lived most of her life in her older sister's shadow, finds herself caught between the two opposing sides.
Over time, those in the town renamed "New Ham," slowly acclimate themselves to their new reality. They delegate jobs, lead expeditions, and establish order. Aside from the leader of the group, the teens establish The Guard, a group of enforcers that consists largely of football players who possess the intimidation and strength to combat nearly every obstacle any of the teens could throw at them. The Guard's focal members Luke (Alexander MacNicoll), Jason (Emilio Garcia-Sanchez), Clark (Spencer House), and Grizz (Jack Mulhern) soon realize the position requires more than they bargained for. Of course, it isn't long before real-world issues of corruption, crime, and greed begin to plague New Ham. Typical teenage drama that revolves around their relationships, bullying, and sense of entitlement, is amplified in this strange environment, suggesting that perhaps the teenage years are more influential than many adults give them credit for.
The Society contains plenty of unique characters who only would have continued to shine had the series continued. Sam (Sean Berdy) is a gay, deaf teen whose brother Campbell (Toby Wallace) is a diagnosed psychopath. Campbell's frantic actions not only endanger his girlfriend Elle (Oliva DeJonge), but a number of others in town. Sam's blossoming romantic relationship with Grizz is one of the most heartwarming pieces of the series, as is his friendship with Becca (Gideon Adlon). The heartwarming and equally stern Helena (Natasha Liu Bordizzo), the devoted Kelly (Kristine Froseth), the intellectual duo of Gordie (Jose Julian) and Bean (Salena Qureshi), and the sometimes overly rational Will (Jacques Colimon), prove to be exactly what New Ham needs, while characters like Harry (Alex Fitzalan), Lexie (Grace Victoria Cox), and Campbell threaten their ability to peacefully coexist.
The looming mystery of what happened on the bus and what the bus driver had to do with all of it is never fully answered in The Society's debut season. Arguably, the audience is left with more questions than answers at the end of The Society, as several of the series' focal mysteries remain unsolved. The paternity of New Ham's first child is unknown, as is the function of the dog that several of the characters interact with throughout the series. The final moments of The Society's finale only amplify the confusion, as one of the theories the group kicks around about their fate is largely discredited. The only way any of these questions could be answered is if Netflix or another platform decides to renew the series for a deserved season 2.
The Society is now streaming on Netflix.