YOU (2018 – 2021) – My rating: 9/10

“You” is a psychological thriller based on the books by Caroline Kepnes, developed by Greg Berlanti and Sera Gamble, and produced by Alloy Entertainment and A+E Studios in association with Warner Horizon Television, now Warner Bros. Television. 

This series follows a bookstore manager who is also a serial killer. “You” is also a love story that is as strange as it is intriguing.  It’s brilliantly written and in my opinion, one of Netflix’s finest.

The first season, which aired in September of 2018, follows the story of Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley), a bookstore manager at Mooney’s in New York, who upon meeting Guinevere Beck (Elizabeth Lail), an aspiring writer, becomes infatuated with her. He feeds his toxic and obsessive version of love and romance using social media and other technology to track her presence and remove obstacles in the way of their potential romance.

We learn that Joe is great at justifying his actions and leaves the audience calm and curious as to his next move.  You almost feel as though the situation calls for Joe’s actions.  After all, what else could he do and stay free?  Based on Kepnes’ follow-up novel, Hidden Bodies, season two was authorized.  So far I give season one an A+ for being interesting, entertaining, well written, and different.  On the review aggregator website, Rotten Tomatoes, the first season has a 93% approval rating with 60 reviews and an average rating of 7.10/10. The website’s critical consensus reads, “You pairs thrilling drama with trashy fun to create an addictive social media horror story that works its way under the skin – and stays there.

In the second season, which aired in December of 2019, Joe moves from New York to Los Angeles to escape his past and starts over with a new identity. When he meets an avid chef and Health Guru, Love Quinn (Victoria Pedretti), Joe begins falling into his old patterns of obsession and violence. As Joe attempts to forge a new romance in the City of Angels, he strives to make his relationship with Love succeed at all costs to avoid the fate of his past romantic endeavors.

Season two taught us that Joe continues to strive to be different but continues to be the same, “blaming unforeseen circumstances” for his psychopathic endeavors.  We are surprised by the end of the season that Joe isn’t the only crazy we have to watch out for.  Between Joe, Love, and Love’s family, the story gets really big and the past gets even bigger!!  At this point, I give season two an “A” for continuing to keep us interested, entertained, and surprised.  On Rotten Tomatoes, the second season has an 87% approval rating with an average rating of 8.01/10, based on 45 reviews. The website’s critical consensus reads, “Penn Badgley’s perversely endearing serial stalker keeps looking for love in all the wrong places during a second season that maintains the subversive tension while adding some welcome variations on the series formula.”

In the third season, released October of 2021, Joe and Love are married and raising their newborn son, Henry, in the Californian suburb of Madre Linda. As their relationship dynamic takes a new turn, Joe continues to repeat the cycle of obsession with a burgeoning interest in Natalie Engler (Michaela McManus), the next-door neighbor. This time, Love will flip the script to ensure that her dream of having the perfect family will not be torn away so easily by Joe’s compulsive actions.  In the meanwhile, Joe is spending most of his time at his new job, working at the library for Marienne Bellamy (Tati Gabrielle), a librarian and keen observer of the neighborhood’s denizens.

During season three, we learn there have been numerous characters and relationships that have been destroyed.  Joe, who now goes by the name of Will Bettelheim has been discovered as Joe Goldberg but by whom? What is going to happen in the near future?  Who will survive and who will be the next victim?  What’s going to happen to the Goldberg family now that they have a son to raise?  At this point, I give “YOU” an A+ for its overall brilliance.  On Rotten Tomatoes, the third season holds a 96% approval rating with an average rating of 8.00/10 based on 53 reviews. The website’s critics consensus reads, “You takes its thrilling saga to the suburbs with superb results, made all the more delicious by Penn Badgley and Victoria Pedretti’s committed performances.”

In October 2021, ahead of the third season premiere, the series was renewed for a fourth season. The date is TBA.

In conclusion, I loved this series.  There are many significant characters I haven’t included in the season abstracts.  While “YOU” definitely is not for children, I’m sure you’ll get a kick out of this unique story,  which is airing on Netflix and features about 10 episodes per season.  Check It Out!


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