(CNN)After a two-and-a-half-year spread betwixt seasons with a two-part peculiar in between, "Euphoria" returns, offering the latest permutation of youthful angst.
Despite Zendaya's attention-getting, award-winning presence, the HBO bid remains truthful unrelentingly bleak and nihilistic that it's overly defined by however acold bid creator Sam Levinson volition propulsion standards successful presumption of nudity, enactment and cause use. (Answer: Pretty acold indeed.)
"Euphoria" works overtime to differentiate itself from the airbrushed soapiness of "Gossip Girl" oregon different TV contributions to the genre, endeavoring to rival the rawest movies that person probed these areas oregon premium bid similar "Genera+ion" and "13 Reasons Why," itself a source of controversy.
Yet immoderate tv amusement yet boils down to the characters, which is wherever the bid falls short, adjacent with the flights of phantasy -- giving definite episodes an astir dreamlike prime -- and heavy-handed narration provided by Zendaya's Rue, whose struggles with addiction persist.
Levinson has structured the play arsenic a bid of stories involving idiosyncratic characters, gradually bringing those strands unneurotic implicit the people of the 7 episodes previewed. Yet there's a repetitive prime to the issues astatine work, cardinal among them Rue's narration with Jules (Hunter Schafer) and the triangle involving Cassie (Sydney Sweeney), Maddy (Alexa Demie) and Nate (Jacob Elordi), each bruised and damaged successful their ain way.
Nor does the caller play wholly flight the earlier inclination to trim the parents to either monsters oregon ineffectual nags that callback the unseen voices successful the aged Charlie Brown cartoons, contempt an effort to soma retired immoderate of their histories.
Criticizing "Euphoria" arsenic idiosyncratic weaned connected earlier generations of teen dramas risks a definite "Get disconnected my lawn" quality, and the amusement has its stock of captious admirers and ardent fans, earning Zendaya an Emmy for its archetypal play and the strength of her performance.
That said, arsenic written the characters astir situation viewers to attraction excessively profoundly astir them, and the show's attempts to beryllium edgy occasionally consciousness simply icky, including a aboriginal brushwood successful which a weapon is brandished arsenic a benignant of foreplay.
Granted, successful the streaming property a amusement similar this isn't intended to beryllium everyone's cupful of beverage and doesn't request to be, with the vantage that "Euphoria" appeals to an assemblage that mightiness not regularly ticker overmuch other connected HBO oregon HBO Max. (It returns on with different bid presenting a antithetic rotation connected dysfunctional families, "The Righteous Gemstones," which isn't a peculiarly compatible pairing.)
The teens successful "Euphoria" (played by twentysomethings, arsenic is common) haven't cornered the marketplace connected self-absorption and evidently didn't invent it. In the last analysis, though, this latest batch of episodes unfolds with the benignant of grim, unpleasant ratio that tin marque 1 consciousness each spot arsenic numb arsenic Rue sounds.
"Euphoria" play 2 premieres Jan 9 astatine 9 p.m. ET connected HBO. Like CNN, HBO is simply a portion of WarnerMedia.