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Scandals in Spain: “Elite” TV show review


The new Spanish Netflix Original, “Elite,” joins the wave of teen murder mystery shows of recent years. Renewed for Season 2 before Season 1 even aired, Netflix had quite a bit of confidence in the show’s potential for success. Set in Spain, the drama details the lives of private high school students as they struggle with the burdens of wealth and privilege or the lack thereof. “Elite” stars actors widely unknown to American audiences and incorporates details of foreign cultures. While this show may be a fresh variation for the “Gossip Girl” crowd that would be attracted to this show, it lacks overall plot nuance and uniqueness.

To give credit where it’s due, the characterization is well done. Despite their initial archetypal qualities, the characters are often relatable, realistic and diverse in personality. You can find yourself rooting for certain couples and sighing at familial rifts. There are no heroes or villains, but the right amount of teenage angst offers plenty of unusual conflicts on its own. The show also touches on a lot of modern day issues, such as Islamophobia, LGBTQ+ rights, STDs and socioeconomic differences.

The murder mystery plot has both its victories and downfalls. Starting in medias res, the introduction is not unique and as the plot progresses, the shows tries to captivate audiences with cheap, unrelated subplots that are just forgotten about. Much of the show operates in flashback, but the transitions from past to present are unclear at times.  On the other hand, the murder bread-crumb technique is artfully done and ultimately, the guilty party is completely unpredictable, but not in the awful deus ex machina way.

Overall, I would recommend “Elite” to anyone looking for entertainment, a casual watch, but nothing more than that. While the show does keep you captivated, it isn’t in any way insightful or thought-provoking.

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