Euphoria (American TV series)
Euphoria is an American teen drama television series created by Sam Levinson, loosely based on the Israeli miniseries of the same name. Euphoria follows a group of high school students through their experiences of sex, drugs, friendships, love, identity and trauma. The series stars Zendaya and premiered on HBO on June 16, 2019. In July 2019, the series was renewed for a second season.
Euphoria received positive reviews from critics, who praised its cinematography, story, score, performances, specifically those of Zendaya and Hunter Schafer, and approach to its mature subject matter, although it did become the subject of controversy due to its use of nudity and sexual content, which some critics perceived to be excessive. The series received nominations for the British Academy Television Award for Best International Programme, and the TCA Award for Outstanding Achievement in Drama. For her performance, Zendaya received nominations for the Critics' Choice Award, Primetime Emmy Award and Satellite Award for Best Actress in a Drama Series, the latter of which she won.
Cast and characters
- Zendaya as Rue Bennett, a recovering teenage drug addict struggling to find her place in the world
- Maude Apatow as Lexi Howard, Rue's childhood best friend, and Cassie's younger sister
- Angus Cloud as Fez O’Neill, a local drug dealer with a close relationship to Rue
- Jacob Elordi as Nate Jacobs, a high school athlete whose anger issues mask his sexual insecurities
- Eric Dane as Cal Jacobs, Nate's father who is hiding secrets from his family
- Alexa Demie as Maddy Perez, Nate's on-again and off-again girlfriend
- Barbie Ferreira as Kat Hernandez, a body-conscious teen exploring her sexuality
- Nika King as Leslie Bennett, Rue and Gia's mother
- Storm Reid as Gia Bennett, Rue's younger sister
- Hunter Schafer as Jules Vaughn, a transgender girl who quickly befriends Rue after moving into town
- Algee Smith as Christopher McKay, a young football player and Cassie's boyfriend who is having difficulties adjusting to college
- Sydney Sweeney as Cassie Howard, Lexi's older sister and McKay's girlfriend with an infamous sexual past that continues to affect her life
- Austin Abrams as Ethan Lewis, Kat's love interest
- Colman Domingo as Ali, a man in recovery from substance use disorder who often speaks at Rue's Narcotics Anonymous meetings
- Keean Johnson as Daniel, Kat's ex-boyfriend who takes an interest in Cassie
- Lukas Gage as Tyler Clarkson, a college student who is brutally attacked by Nate for having sex with Maddy at a party
- Alanna Ubach as Suze Howard, Lexi and Cassie's alcoholic mother
- Sophia Rose Wilson as BB, a friend of Maddy, Kat, and Cassie
- Bruce Wexler as Robert Bennett, Rue's father
- Elpidia Carrillo as Sonia Perez, Maddy's mother
- Ruben Dario as Ted Perez, Maddy's father
- Nolan Bateman as Wes, Kat's first hook up
- Tyler Timmons and Tristan Timmons as Troy McKay and Roy McKay, Christopher's twin brothers
- Javon Walton as Ashtray, Fezco's "little brother"
- Shiloh Fernandez as Trevor, a store clerk at Femme
- Cranston Johnson as Frederick McKay, Christopher’s father
- Nick Blood as Gus Howard, Cassie and Lexi's father
- Paula Marshall as Marsha Jacobs, Nate's mother
- Zak Steiner as Aaron Jacobs, Nate's brother
- John Ales as David Vaughn, Jules's father
- Bobbi Salvör Menuez as TC, Jules’s friend
- Quintessa Swindell as Anna, Jules’s new love interest
- Will Peltz as Luke Kasten, a former East Highland student
- Pell James as Amy Vaughn, Jules's mother
- Allie Marie Evans as Natalie, Nate's winter formal date
DevelopmentOn June 1, 2017, it was announced that HBO was developing an adaptation of the 2012 Israeli television series Euphoria created by Ron Leshem, Daphna Levin, and Tmira Yardeni. The production was expected to be written by Sam Levinson, who was also set to executive-produce alongside Leshem, Levin, Yardeni, Hadas Mozes Lichtenstein, Mirit Toovi, Yoram Mokadi, and Gary Lennon. Levinson based the series on his own experiences as a teenager, including his struggles with drug addiction. He stated, "There is this consistent anxiety that I think exists in this generation, that I think, informed the whole filmmaking process..."
On March 13, 2018, HBO programming president Casey Bloys announced at the INTV conference in Jerusalem that the network had given the production a pilot order. It was further announced that A24 would serve as a production company for the pilot. On March 27, 2018, it was announced that Augustine Frizzell would direct the pilot episode and serve as co-executive producer. On July 30, 2018, it was announced that HBO had given the production a series order and that every episode of the series will be written by Levinson. Additional executive producers were to include Drake, Future the Prince, Ravi Nandan, and Kevin Turen, while production companies involved included A24 Television.
On July 11, 2019, the series was renewed for a second season.
The promotional posters for the series were designed by Percival & Associates.
CastingOn June 5, 2018, it was announced that the pilot would star Zendaya, Storm Reid, Maude Apatow, Brian "Astro" Bradley, Eric Dane, Angus Cloud, Alexa Demie, Jacob Elordi, Barbie Ferreira, Nika King, Hunter Schafer, and Sydney Sweeney. On October 31, 2018, it was reported that Algee Smith had been cast to replace Brian "Astro" Bradley in the series regular role of McKay. It was further reported that Austin Abrams had also been cast in the series. In April 2020, it was announced Kelvin Harrison Jr. had joined the cast of the second season.
FilmingConfirmed locations include Sony Studios in Los Angeles, Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance, and Ulysses S Grant High School in Valley Glen. Production for the second season would start in the second quarter of 2020, with the first table read taking place on March 11. However, it was delayed indefinitely, according to Deadline Hollywood, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
MusicEuphorias score was composed by English singer, songwriter, and record producer Labrinth. In an interview with Rolling Stone, he stated, "When you look back to your teenage days, it feels semi-magical but semi-crazy and semi-psychotic. I wanted to make sure the music felt like those things." The song "All for Us", performed by Labrinth and Zendaya, is hinted throughout season one, but has the large musical number acted out at the very end of the season finale. Emmy-nominated Music Supervisor Jen Malone, who also works on Donald Glover's show Atlanta, and Adam Leber won the Guild Of Music Supervisor Award for Best Music Supervision in a Television Drama in February 2020.
Season 1The soundtrack album for the first season was released by Sony Music Entertainment on October 4, 2019 for digital download.
Critical responseThe series was met with a positive response from critics, with much of the praise going to its acting, story, visuals, and approach to mature subject matter. On the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes the first season has a positive score of 82%, with an average rating of 7.31/10 based on 93 critical reviews, resulting in it being designated "Certified Fresh". The website's critical consensus summary states, "Though at times hard to watch, Euphoria balances its brutal honesty with an empatheticand visually gorgeouseye to create a uniquely challenging and illuminating series, held together by a powerfully understated performance from Zendaya." Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 68 out of 100, based on 26 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
Ben Travers of IndieWire praised the show's authenticity and how HBO "grounds itself in stark reality." As well, he praised Zendaya's performance and narration, and how she manages to fulfill the leading role. Tim Goodman of The Hollywood Reporter praised Zendaya's performance and the handling of the subject matter. Pilot Vireut of Observer praised the show as being visually stunning, as well as the ensemble performance, but criticized the writing as "shaky, filled with clunky lines", and recommended that the show "keep its focus narrow".
The series garnered criticism from the Parents Television Council after it was reported that one of the episodes contained "close to 30 penises onscreen" and the onscreen statutory rape of a character. The Parent Television Council also criticized the show for marketing "graphic adult content" towards teens.