It is rare that something hits the zeitgeist in a way that’s entirely deserved. Normal People looks very unassuming on the surface. 12 half-hour episodes cover a very straightforward twenty-something love story following two small town Irish schoolmates from secondary school to the completion of studies at Trinity College: Dublin. After watching this show it is easy to see why it became such a breakout hit regardless of the generic set up. Its assembled on pretty much every level with a raw honesty, humanity and heart that is not only rare for this genre (in an era where things like Riverdale and season 2 and 3 of 13 Reasons Why exist) but for media as a whole. All of this would mean nothing if the two central performances when able to sell it effectively and Daisy Edgar Jones and Paul Mescal deliver incredible performances. Their chemistry is electric and really enables the viewer to emotionally invest in the drama both between their characters and in the narrative as a whole. They will be massive stars in 5-years’ time.
The sex scenes have drawn some media attention since the shows released. Well they are objectively well executed (raw intimate realistic) it is hard not to feel they do verge towards the slightly gratuitous at times (especially in the first half.) Not one to watch with the parents. Beyond that distinctly subjective criticism the show barely puts a foot wrong during it over the course of its run time and it has the potential to be a genre classic in future.
On the surface Normal People is incredibly straightforward. That said it is easy to see why it became such a runaway hit with its level raw honesty and humanity and heart in dealing with some difficult subject matter and top lined by two great central performances from massive stars of the future. If you have not been swept up in the wave of hype this season is definitely worth your time