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When a tsunami strands dozens of teens on an island at their private school, they soon realize no rescuers are coming and they must save themselves. (Source: Netflix) Edit Translation
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This review may contain spoilers
Lost and White Christmas had a gay baby named The StrandedI usually review underlying social commentary and filming/directing techniques so my reviews mention other shows and lots of excitement about camera placement and editing.
Let's get it/
Season 1 of The Stranded aired worldwide in its entirety on Netflix on 15 Nov 2019 with 7 x 50 min episodes. It reminds you of Lost, White Christmas and Lord of the Flies all at once while still being fairly unique in this genre.
Lost is an American television show that aired 2004 - 2010 about survivors of a plane crash on a deserted island dealing with the Lord of the Flies narrative on top of everything getting weirder and weirder. Due to the time and place Lost as a series was coming from, the patriarchy in it makes the show almost unwatchable for me. So my first title for this was "Lost with less Patriarchy."
You can't help but be reminded of Lost when you watch The Stranded. You have an almost identical and equally pivotal scene of the main character waking up on the ground in the jungle at one point. You have the unwordly creepiness that can't be explained and the mysterious suspense wrapped around everything.
I'm not sure how much influence Netflix had over this series. The lack of product placement throughout was almost jarring to someone who has only seen Thai webseries before. The 24 frames per second vibe and scene changes dramatically split with relevant intriguing backstories were reminiscent of so many Western shows in this genre. Idk, it's so interesting to me, the points where Sukdapisit derailed from that. That's what I was looking for, broken tropes and throwbacks that have nothing to do with Western media.
During The Stranded I also found myself reminded of White Christmas, a short Korean series from 2011 about a group of students trapped at their elite school in the mountains in an avalanche over Christmas break.
There's nothing supernatural about White Christmas, it's purely psychological. The Stranded has a psychological vibe that runs deeper than the character relationships in Lost. The repeated filming of hot shirtless guys and lonely girls with fucked up pasts also were very White Christmas-like.
There's something that The Stranded, White Christmas & Lord of the Flies have that Lost could never. The way the characters react to being trapped on their own with no help changes whether you're writing adults or children into such roles. The internal war between despair, communism*, escapism and hope gets completely skewed and more so than when writing adult characters.
*communism in the desire to successfully work together. Quote from The Stranded; "We must cooperate. Work together and trust each other. That's how we survive."
A lot of these stories show how this kind of purely conceived idealism breaks down against the desperation to survive.
I can't leave out Krit & Jack in social commentary. I didn't want them to be token innocent queers in the background. Props to show how normal gays are to hets. So from a social standpoint, I'm grateful they were sexually active, depressing, and dangerously in love. They're not there to promote a harmless depiction of teenage boyfriends. They add to the whole way the situation of being stranded can carve out human ugliness on all sides.
In the West our need to strictly label genders and sexualities puts me in a difficult spot to describe what "girls" refers to in Thai media. But you will see it here. We're used to it more than the average American clicking on a foreign show on Netflix. The male characters who are there doing "girls" chores. I love that they're not trying to pass and that they don't even have to explain their existence. I love that they are just socially accepted from the beginning without it becoming a plot point. I love that you see the Thai thing where it's less about fighting to be trans than being trans and fighting for your personal gender's rights irrespective of their bodies' anatomies. But I still hate that these characters are minor and still mainly used to inject humor by their default flamboyance. I also wish there would be at least one transboy or nb person at some point in whatever I watch.
The setting from The Stranded creates the uniqueness and non-Western cultural framework that makes it special. The setting is more intense and beautiful than most things you will see in film. The ratio of camera time given to nature over characters is noticeably greater than many films set in remote locations. The intro's lens filter over the drone filming of the forests and beaches is so simple and so effective. You know you're looking at something that is ultimately skewed and that's thematically really important to remember from the beginning until the last scene.
The intro and the show itself have music that is arguably way cooler than what we usually see in foreign media. Passively, it's youthful and non-commercial. When it's used climatically it's a bit intense in a cliche way that I wish would just die in this genre.
Scene cuts come abruptly at times to weave together similar dramatic events been different characters. These types of situations make me so grateful to the writers for their timing of revelations and events.
The actors are all so so good. You never think they're faking anything and you become immersed in each of their fucked up lives. You want to see some of them rise up and some of them fall down where they belong but you're at the mercy of the story. To compliment both the writing and the actors, nothing feels forced out of character and so many points of interest are created between these characters in this story.
I really want to see everyone's theories on what's going on in the story. At first I thought ok, they're all dead and they don't know it. Now I don't know what to think but with what's happened, I just want Mark to come back so much<333
Thank u for reading x
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