There’s something about the onset of summer that’s just right for YA (young adult) teen movies. You know the kind filled with worn-out cliches and endless tropes that makes non-teens cringe.
Well, like an avid binge-watcher, a good series is my preferred go-to. Matter of fact, I’m usually the one wavering between the, you guessed it, YA type series or the full-on dystopian-military-sci-fi-zombie type shows. So when I caught a glimpse of the trailer for Panic, I knew this was up my alley and around the corner!
Panic is a mystery thriller series, now on Amazon Prime, that’s based on the novel of the same name by Lauren Oliver, who also happened to have developed the show. Set in the small town of Carp, Texas, every summer members of the graduating high school class take part in a secret and oh so dangerous game—Panic.
As the show progresses, details of how the gameplay works as well as its mysterious history are revealed. But so far, here’s what we know:
- The game has been a tradition in this desolate small town for as long as anyone can remember. There’s a cash prize of $50k—the highest pot to date, for the lucky winner
- There’s judges (whom and who are unknown)
- There’s only one winner each year
- Once a player has entered the game they have to do a series of increasingly dangerous stunts and challenges, while also deciphering clues as to where everything l takes place (this is the part where I knew I’d lose big time, if I were ever to play this game)
In the past, some players have actually died including two-star students and sweethearts, Abby and Jimmy. The circumstances of their deaths and how they’re connected to this year’s game is one of the show’s major plot threads.
Each chapter of the ten-episode series centers around a new challenge within Panic, where the teens learn more about each other and their limitations. So what’s the main takeaway? Everyone has a past and everyone has a reason to participate in the town’s game.
Enter this year’s players.
Heather Nill (Olivia Welch) is the class valedictorian who initially isn’t going to play but then changes her mind after a situation arises at home. Her BFF Natalie (Jessica Sula) is the semi-popular girl who sees the prize money as independence from her single sheriff father and a new life in Los Angeles as an actress, to boot!
Dodge Mason (Mike Faist), the new guy in town, is playing for more than just the prize money, as we later find out. Resident class a-hole, Ray Hall (Ray Nicholson), whose brother won the game a few years earlier sees the prize money as his ticket out of the town.
So what do I think?
I binged-watched the whole series in a day…one day. So it goes without saying that I thoroughly enjoyed Panic, despite finding a few flaws here and there. What makes up for those missteps is that there are a lot of unanswered questions that lend themselves well to the beauty of a good mystery thriller. Hopefully, a season 2 is in the works so we can continue the binge.