By Yasmin Attwood, First Year, English Literature
Based on the YA book of the same name, One of Us Is Lying has just arrived on UK Netflix and is already climbing its way up the ranks of the trending list. The show follows four unlikely friends who are thrown together when they all become circumstantial suspects in the murder of their classmate Simon (McKenna). The plot thickens when we learn that Simon was planning to post life-changing secrets about each of them on a gossip app he runs at Bayview high school.
Our main four suspects are Bronwyn (Marianly Tejada) ‘the brains’, Cooper (Chibuikem Uche) ‘the brawn’, Nate (Cooper Van Grootel) ‘the badass’ and Addy (Annalisa Cochrane) ‘the blond’, or as she prefers ‘the beauty’. Unsure of who to trust, and with secrets to protect, ‘the game is afoot’. An Agatha Christie-style murder mystery then unfolds as #TheBayviewFour attempt to exonerate themselves by piecing together who the real murderer is.
The characters, as their aforementioned epithets may suggest, are somewhat one dimensional. They are each confined to predictable trajectories, such as Addy realising she doesn’t have to dress to impress others and cutting off her long blond hair as an on the nose metaphor for her becoming more independent.
While there are a few cheesy moments to accompany the formulaic character arcs, for the most part, the writers did an impressive job of intertwining different characters subplots and integrating a wide periphery of secondary characters (AKA potential suspects), such as Bronwyn’s sister Maeve (Melissa Collazo), Simon’s friend Janae (Jessica McLeod) and Addy’s boyfriend Jake (Carnahan). And the predictability of certain characters' development didn’t take away from the enjoyment of the series, or the surprising twists and turns of the main murder mystery plot.
While watching the show, many viewers who recognise the show from the YA novel will be asking the age-old question: is the screen adaption as good as the book?
Showrunner, Darlo Madrona, says they’ve ‘been faithful to the spirit of the story’, but have also tried to ‘add some little twists and turns here and there [to] surprise readers of the book’. Indeed, the main plotlines are the same as the book, but certain characters are more fleshed out or given slightly different roles in this adaption, which justifies the length of this eight-episode series. The show’s length enables the narrative to remain fast-paced throughout while making it a very easy binge-watch too.
There is a change in the specifics of the ending which veers away from some of the interesting dark themes the book explored, such as the way certain online chatrooms breed hatred that can escalate into the real world. The series instead gives us a slightly different ending, which keeps it exciting for people who are already familiar with the book, but still makes sense and is an enjoyable revelation. There is also an added cliff-hanger, that conveniently paves the way for the second season which has just been announced.
It is interesting to see the changes that have been made when transposing Karen M. Mcmanus’ sharp writing style into this new medium. Particularly, the modern cinematography and bright colours on screen really bring the book to life and are complemented by a very up to date soundtrack, featuring artists like Olivia Rodrigo who particularly captures the 'teenage angst' of the situations in the series.
I would recommend this series to anyone who loves a murder mystery and is looking for something quite light-hearted but also enticing, gripping, and entertaining.
Featured Image: IMDB
Will you be binge-watching this show?