Elite (stylised in the show as ÉLITƎ)is a 2018 Netflix Spanish teen drama/crime fiction staring Danna Paola, María Pedraza(Money Heist), Miguel Herrán((Money Heist), Jaime Lorente( (Money Heist) and a host of others.
The show is a murder mystery in its first season. The second season is expected to arrive in 2019.
When it first arrived Netflix on October 17, I ignored it, and was very skeptical to watch because it involved high school kids. However I kept seeing the trailer, so one day I decided to check out the critic ratings. I was surprised when I saw it got a whopping 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. IMDB scored it 7/10 too, which is still like an A, or at worst a B. The show also kept making it to the most popular list on a series fan site I visit. As a result, I decided yo dive in and see if it was worth the hype despite my initial skepticism.
The eight part series begins with the arrival of three outsiders at Las Encinas private school: Samuel (Itzan Escamilla), a sensitive boy who works as a waiter to support himself and his single mother; Christian (Miguel Herrán), a cocky and effervescent firestarter; and Nadia (Mina El Hammani), a smart but guarded always-does-the-right-thing girl deeply grounded in her Muslim faith and Palestinian roots. It then unfolds as we see a detective ask the students about the murder of one of their colleagues, who wasn’t revealed until the end of the first episode.
The show started a bit slow. Infact while watching the first two episodes I found my self dosing because I was still just getting introduced to the characters who seemed very typical and predictable at first instance. Let me add at this juncture that Elite had three of the stars from Netflix’s fan favourite Money Heist (La Casa De Papel) and I was very pleased to see them again in another show.
By the third episode it had picked up immensely and started unfolding. It made use of flashbacks- how to get away with murder style, and I could also see some inspiration from Gossip girl. I also started seeing the real depth of the characters and how well the writers of the show built them strongly to pass strong, conscious messages.
Infact, while the murder mystery theme makes it look bingeable, it is the character development that put the show in a class of its own. We see characters transcend from typical and predictable into something deeper Eg: the jerk falls for the good girl and vice versa, the queen bee who always has something to say is insecure, the bad boys are secretly sensitive etc.
The show also explores other themes like social strata, blurred lines of sexuality, love, and even HIV awareness. While I think it’s a good show, I wouldn’t call it spectacular or worthy of a 100%. Infact this show is another reason why critic site ratings shouldn’t be taken hook line and sinker. Sometimes it’s best to watch and make a decision. On the hand, I understand that critics may have rated it very high because of the underlining strong messages contained therein. As for me, I am no teenager, so perhaps the high school murder setting was a bit off. A University setting may have been preferable.
One writer described it as slow crime more than a murder thriller and I couldn’t agree more. The has d pretty good plot with very good interpretation from the actors.
Overall, Elite is a good one, even though it takes some time to catch on. I rate it 70/100.