“You” Gaining Popularity Since Joining Netflix

Isabelle Yuen, Staff Writer

“You” was almost unheard of before December. The then Lifetime series gathered about 650,000 viewers per episode when it first premiered, according to producer Greg Berlanti. He is also responsible for “Riverdale” and “Arrow.” In today’s television industry that number is close to nothing. After an unsuccessful first season, Lifetime dropped the show for a second season because of the lack of support from impatient executives. But after its release on Netflix, the show gained 40 million views during the holiday season. “You’s” eventual success finally lived up to its related shows, making it not a complete flop in the television industry. With its quick fame, Netflix has already announced a second season.

“You” is a thriller that follows Joe Goldberg, played by Penn Badgley. Badgley is known for his popular role as Dan Humphrey in Gossip Girl. Goldberg seems like an average young adult in the city, but his internal thoughts and stalkerish actions make him far from normal. Narrated by the stalker himself, he gives the audience a direct entrance into his schemes, obscure assumptions and deathly actions.

The first scene of the pilot episode starts with his obsession with Guinevere Beck, played by Elizabeth Lail. His first impression of his new found attraction is read aloud along with upbeat but slow and eerie music that lingers throughout the entire season.

After their first encounter Goldberg falls madly in love with Beck, beginning his journey with her. He then dedicates his schedule to Beck to ensure that she never leaves his sight. In the scenes following he is hidden away, always a few steps behind. From that he develops a sense of who is right and wrong for Beck, or who he has to interfere with.

The characters introduced are all evidently flawed. Goldberg is not pining after a perfect “dream girl.” Beck is highly problematic and oblivious to the people and issues brought upon by her so called friends.

Although the entire plot of the show is dark and chilling, the audience is not startled by horrific scenes and events because of the production’s lighthearted feeling. The show almost normalizes the stalking as Goldberg justifies his every move. His justifications for doing what he does revolve around Beck. The narration is directly for Beck and each insane thing he does is supposed to “benefit” her.

“You” is not an average thriller. At times it seems like a traditional series with a predictable plot, but then Goldberg’s true self is released, making it definitely out of the ordinary. Viewers watch to see how he becomes obsessed with every detail in Beck’s life. He adapts her daily routine into his schedule and manages to be her boyfriend at the same time, all without her knowing. Badgley does a phenomenal job portraying his character.

The audience is drawn into each episode wanting to know what will be next. Given that it is on Netflix now, viewers can now “binge” the series and not have to wait for a week to go by to find out what happens after.