There’s something eerie about the trailer for Netflix‘s upcoming YA series The Society beyond just the things that are intentionally eerie. There does not seem to be a single adult character in this thing. Then you go to the cast list on IMDb and your suspicions are confirmed. It’s full of dozens upon dozens of shiny young actors and actresses. There’s perhaps more Gen Zers and younger millennials in this cast than any other in television history (as if to underscore that point, there are two different actresses in the cast named Olivia, as well as an actual character named Olivia…played by a Naomi). You have to scroll way down to find anyone over the age of 30 in the cast, and most of them are simply credited with roles like “parent” or “Emily’s mom,” and are only on one of the first season’s 10 episodes. The point is, this cast is generally young enough that they all know exactly who Billie Eilish is (yes, that is her song in the trailer).
If you didn’t surmise it by now, the thing with The Society is that it’s a society without adults. A bunch of teenagers from a well-to-do enclave suddenly wake up one day in a version of their hometown without any adult supervision (or, we assume, any tweens or younger children to worry about, either) and have to figure out how to structure their new adult-free social order. The idea is sort of like the classic novel Lord of the Flies with a hint of HBO’s The Leftovers thrown in.
Considering how often television teens seem to live life with nothing resembling actual parental supervision, it was about time someone took it to its logical conclusion (these someones, by the way, include Marc Webb, best known for directing (500) Days of Summer and the Andrew Garfield–era Spider-man movie, which he also executive produced). Sans guardians, the kids split up into two camps over whether they want to re-create some version of the world that they lived in before or, rather, attempt to build something different or greater (no word on if it’s supposed to serve as an allegory for the current Democratic presidential primary as well).
Kathryn Newton, best known as Reese Witherspoon’s rebellious daughter in Big Little Lies, and one of the stars of the upcoming Detective Pikachu movie, appears as our protagonist, Allie. According to Deadline, Allie has spent her life in the shadows of her overachieving older sister Cassandra (played by Fargo’s Rachel Keller). So, after the novelty of living in a parentless world sets in, it’s only natural that Allie supports Cassandra as the leader of the teens. The two sisters are also joined by their two male cousins, as well: one is a sensitive deaf boy (played by the deaf actor Sean Berdy) while the other (played by Toby Wallace) is described as a sociopath.
Of course, Cassandra isn’t the only teen vying for leadership. Natasha Liu Bordizzo and Alex MacNicoll play the teens’ very own Lord and Lady MacBeth. He’s the high school quarterback, so she pushes him into a leadership role. He’s not so sure about it, so she ends up in the fray instead.
Then there’s Alex Fitzalan, who plays your standard rich, white, handsome boy, who, probably not by mistake, becomes a strong voice for those who want to keep the status quo of the old world.
Meanwhile, Gideon Adlon (daughter of Better Things star Pamela Adlon, and sister of Odessa) plays a girl raised by an alcoholic single mother whose character may or may not be a metaphor for the media (she videotapes the goings-on among the teens). Jacques Colimon plays a foster kid and an actual orphan, so we assume he provides some insight on how to deal with the loss of parents. Olivia DeJonge plays a dancer with self-esteem issues and a susceptibility toward being manipulated. Kristine Froseth is the former high school “queen bee” struggling with which camp to side with, and Jack Mulhern plays a sensitive jock.
Come to think of it, all of the talk of different camps of thought and power struggles between a plethora of possible leaders also makes us suspect there may be a dash of Game of Thrones thrown into this Lord of the Flies and The Leftovers pie, as well. Hey, “Game of Thrones…but with, like, rich, attractive teens in the modern world” is something we’re bound to get a couple of different versions of soon anyway.
Netflix will premiere the first season of the show on May 10.