Last year at this time, the story people were talking about was how this little show called You was burning up the charts on Netflix.
The show was a pure guilty pleasure. Penn Badgley starred as “Joe”, an attractive, well-read dude with a wry smile and a penchant for, I guess, utilizing social media and technology to weasel his way into the life of Guinevere Beck (Elizabeth Lail), which he did by the end of the first episode. What followed, of course, was batshit crazy and involved sex, cages, murder and an unfortunate accident where rare books weren’t taken care of the way rare books are supposed to be taken care of.
Netflix had me hook, line and sinker. I sat on my couch for what seemed like ten hours, watching all ten episodes in the way Netflix (but not HBO or Disney Plus) wanted me to watch the episodes. In one, long, stalkery marathon that involved Chinese Take-out from Postmates, a slice of cake from my next door neighbor, and a stream of consciousness as I hate-watched the whole thing while on social media. The first season of You had sucked me in and forced me to watch the whole damn thing in one sitting during that cold week of December.
The real story, of course, was that Lifetime had really wanted me to watch the damn thing the previous July, when they had released the first season of You to basically crickets. No one watched it. Seriously. It’s why Lifetime decided not to order a second season of the Greg Berlanti produced series, and it was why Netflix licensed the first season and pretended it was their own original series five months later when it popped up on their streaming service, wedged in-between some great UK baking show and a choose-your-own adventure sweded Black Mirror experiment.
The show took off. Mostly because of crazy people like me, whose parents live way too far away to make an airline trip worthwhile. And the minute it took off, the data-crunching scientists at Netflix decided they would do the one thing that Lifetime had chosen not to. They had clearly not chosen wisely, as the old dude from The Last Crusade once said in a movie and during a Pepsi-sponsored commercial. But Netflix?
They ordered a second season.
This December 26th, the day after Christmas (for those who don’t celebrate the holiday and forgot), marks the premiere of the second season of You, returning me to my psychotic, book-loving, wry-smiling Mr. Badgley if you’re nasty.
The story this year, of course, won’t be about Lifetime shitting the bed and clearly not marketing the show to the right audience… No, the story this year won’t be about Netflix throwing some crap at the wall and hoping it sticks. Nooooooo. The story this year will be about whether or not Joe has got enough narrative tricks up his sleeve to make the second go-around feel fresh, exciting and worthy of some Postmates.
I can hope. God knows I am. Maybe Netflix will do right by me.
Only time (fourteen days) will tell.