- Manuel Fernandez-Valdes/Netflix
Warning: Some spoilers ahead for “Elite’s” season one.
- Netflix‘s “Elite” is a teen drama set in Spain that has captivated audiences with its outstanding cast and ensnaring murder-mystery plot.
- The series, which many compare to other classic teen shows like “Gossip Girl” and “Riverdale,” stands out for its refreshing way of tackling topics like toxic masculinity, homophobia, and classism.
- The show’s second season is set to premiere on September 6.
- Here’s why you should binge the first season of “Elite” before then.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
If you’re looking for a new show to obsess over, look no further than Netflix’s “Elite.”
The teen drama, created by leading Spanish TV writers Carlos Montero and Darío Madrona, follows the story of three students (Samuel, Nadia, and Christian) with working-class backgrounds who receive a scholarship to study at an exclusive and elite high school, Las Encinas. As the three try to fit in with their fellow wealthy classmates, a whirlwind of clashes occurs that lead to a mysterious murder.
Even though the plot sounds a little familiar – lots of people can’t help but compare the series to teen classics like “Gossip Girl” and “Riverdale” – it’s actually a refreshingly nuanced take on modern teen angst.
Before Netflix premieres “Elite’s” second season on September 6, see why this show should be on your binge list.
The show fearlessly explores sexuality, giving depth to teen drama tropes we know and love.
There are quite a few romantic story lines on the series – with intense sex-scenes to go along with them – and they each explore love in nuanced ways.
The most compelling romance has to be that of Ander (played by Arón Piper) and Omar (Omar Ayuso).
The two find themselves in a passionate love affair that they have to hide – not because they’re ashamed of their sexuality or because their friends won’t approve, but because Omar fears it’ll ruin his relationship with his traditionalist Muslim father.
“Elite,” of course, has situations that are Hollywood go-tos for teen love stories.
One of those is the love triangle between Nadia, Guzmán, and Lu, (Danna Paola) – your typical bad guy (Guzmán) gets dared by his not-so-official girlfriend (Lu) to win over the uptight new girl (Nadia).
There’s also the case of Carla and Polo, played by Álvaro Rico, two rich kids who have been together since middle school and are practically married. When they try to spice things up with one of the new guys and class clown Christian, played by Miguel Herrán, the three become entangled in a polyamorous relationship.
“Elite” uses flashbacks and flash-forwards, which makes for a thrilling ride.
Viewers go from the present time, wherein a detective investigates the murder of Marina (María Pedraza) and back to the months that lead up to her attack.
Throughout the show, each character’s story line is explored. Two standouts are the intelligent and ambitious Muslim girl Nadia (Mina El Hammani) and the entitled rich boy with a heart of gold Guzmán (Miguel Bernardeau).
The characters’ personal lives are so interesting that you almost forget that one of them could be the culprit.
“Truth be told, there’s more than enough intrigue going on in the everyday lives of these teens without one of them ending up dead,” a Variety review points out. “But to ‘Elite’s’ credit, the conclusion manages to be both satisfying and intriguing as to where season two … might go.”
Their twists are also so well-masked that you’ll never expect the big reveal at the end of the eighth and final episode of the first season.
They present STDs in an informative way.
Before Marina’s shocking death, she was the free-spirited rich girl who was more accepting of the newcomers than her high-class family and brother, Guzmán.
But Marina also had a secret that she later revealed to everyone: She was HIV positive, but she was undetectable and thus the virus wasn’t transmittable.
Although she struggles with that part of her life in the beginning of the series, it’s admirable to see how she later owns up to her diagnosis. Her character also helps educate viewers that anyone, no matter what their sexuality or financial status is, can carry the disease.
Another topic “Elite” explores is toxic masculinity.
As soon as we’re introduced to Guzmán, we know that he’s not only the most popular boy in school, but also the harshest on the new “outsiders.”
He represents the typical characteristics of a privileged villain: controlling, manipulative, and violent.
But as the show progresses, we start seeing more of Guzmán’s layers. He’s incredibly protective of his family and sister Marina, he cares about his friends to a fault, and he ends up falling for the girl he wanted to humiliate.
It helps that Miguel Bernardeau gives an exceptional performance of the role that gives the typical bad guy humanizing qualities that few TV show villains do.
“Elite” also shows how classism, racism, xenophobia, and homophobia are present in all cultures.
Not only are the teens trying to figure out who they are while navigating high school, but they do it while dealing with pre-conceived prejudices and expectations.
One of the most powerful moments in the series is when Nadia defends using her hijab after the school’s principal tells her she risks expulsion if she continues to wear it.
Although Nadia obeys and takes it off during school hours, she still wears it throughout the series and explains how important it is to her.
The diverse cast is full of newcomers that command the screen.
Perhaps the most important part of any show is its cast, and much like HBO’s “Euphoria,” “Elite” presents a group of talented young actors that give audiences a reason to come back for more.
Their chemistry is palpable in every scene, and their portrayals of each character feel genuine.
In an interview for Netflix’s “Aftershow” special, Ester Expósito, who plays Carla, one of the wealthy students with a manipulative nature, said that having a month or so to rehearse with the cast helped her develop her character.
“I’ve worked from there, trying to understand her and justify her way of being in the end,” Expósito said in Spanish. “I think it’s the only way to interpret something from the truth. I have a lot of love [for Carla].”
The series’ soundtrack pulls from many different artists including C. Tangana, Rosalía, Charli XCX, and even Dana Paola (the actress who plays Lu).
For a list of most of the songs featured on the show, PopBuzz has compiled a list.
The trailer for season two show tensions at Las Encinas are at an all-time high.
The trailer shows how Samuel (Itzan Escamilla) is on a mission to prove that his brother Nano (Jaime Lorente) is innocent after he was arrested for Marina’s murder.
There are also three new students at Las Encinas who will be shaking things up.
Even the tag line – “Lies tie us together. Lies tear us apart.” – could be a hint that the show’s best-kept secrets from season one might be revealed.
Season two will be out on September 6. In the meantime, you can watch the trailer here.