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Zendaya in 'Euphoria.'
Zendaya in 'Euphoria.'
Photo: Showmax






4/5 Stars


Adults Only: Zendaya stars in a dynamic new HBO series that follows a group of high school students as they navigate a minefield of drugs, sex, identity, trauma, social media, love and friendship in today’s increasingly unstable world.


For me HBO shows have a kind of X-factor to them. A distinctive mark of quality that is immediately visible from the opening shot.

It's something in the air.

A magical type of aura that floats throughout its shows and binds it all together in an entrancing way.

Of course, not all the shows get it right, but Euphoria does.

Even though it tells the story of teenagers in high school, there's absolutely nothing immature about this show which tackles tricky topics like drugs, sex, and violence with such honesty that you can't help but be committed to the various brutal storylines.

There are so many teen focused shows in the market as streaming services vie for the attention of the digital generation, but few can authentically land the plane in probably the most hostile of entertainment space right now. Where most youth orientated series either over-compromise or under-deliver, Euphoria triumphs almost effortlessly.

Painted with a lush brush of realness, the show glows throughout with a sincerity that is truly remarkable. There are a few obvious factors to thank for this.

Firstly, a raw and unapologetic script that takes on everything from sexuality to social media. Secondly, an extremely skilled cast that breathe life into their unique characters, and lastly a rebellious fearlessness to expose the darkest corners faced by the modern youth.

Zendaya, as Rue Bennett, delivers a masterful melancholic performance that would leave Hamlet green with envy whilst a beautifully diverse cast offer remarkable support to their leading lady. Together they give a truly voyeuristic look into Generation Z and the many pitfalls they face.

Those easily offended by the mention of hard drugs, alcohol or full-frontal nudity, there's a scene with 30 naked men showing off their flaccid dicks, should steer way clear. Euphoria is not for the faint-hearted or conservative, but if you're wanting to see what it takes to be a teen in 2019 – this show is a helpful vessel into exploring a world very few really understand.


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