Sometimes, it feels as if a show is taking forever to come out, like Stranger Things' highly anticipated Season 2 debut this Friday. Netflix's home page already has a countdown, and has for a few days now. We all assume Stranger Things 2 is going to be awesome, because Stranger Things 1 was awesome. It's fair for us to have high expectations heading into a new season of a show like that.
But then there are times where you just stumble across a brand new show without knowing much about it, try it out without any real expectations, and it turns out be a great watch.
REVIEW: American Vandal, Netflix, Grade: A-
That's what happened to me with American Vandal when it came out on Netflix the weekend of September 15th. For those that didn't catch my Big Mouth review last week, TooMuchTuma has been on bed rest due to ACL surgery, and I've been grinding through some new shows that I've felt compelled to write about. With all the free time I was able to push through American Vandal pretty quickly, but a big part of that was due to what a pleasant surprise this show turned out to be. I had the time, but I also couldn't stop my self from continuing to watch.
Again, I went into it not knowing what to expect. A mockumentary taking place in a high school about a kid drawing dicks everywhere? A funny plot no doubt but "Vandal" turns out to actually be part comedy, part drama, and part mystery. It adds some layers to the show that it didn't necessarily need, but makes for a much more entertaining watch.
This a true-crime documentary (think "Making A Murderer", "Serial") that is actually a mockumentary (you know, because of the dicks). The basic story revolves around this kid Dylan, who we are led to believe is being unfairly accused for spray painting 27 dicks on 27 cars in his high school's faculty parking lot. This is an admittedly ridiculous premise that the show takes...super seriously, which is why it works.
The other main characters, these two kids Peter and Sam, are making a doc (so a show within the show) to try and prove Dylan's innocence. They tackle the hard hitting questions such as "could Dylan have really drawn the dicks if the dicks he's drawn in the past have ball hairs on them, and the ones in the faculty parking lot don't?"
So yeah, "Vandal" draws you in with the comedy, and gets you to keep watching for the drama/mystery elements. The best TV shows always make you invested in its characters, and that's exactly what happens here. The show also has a pretty accurate depiction of what high school is like, and perfectly incorporates social media into the plot.
It's entertaining stuff. 8 episodes, 30 minutes each, an easy watch. You'll find yourself transitioning from "ha they made a dick joke" to "oh wow these are complex characters that have actual story arcs". Then, by the end, you'll find yourself needing to find out who drew the dicks. American Vandal offers comedy, drama, and mystery. It's way more than what it could've been.
PS the kid who plays Dylan is going to be a star. He absolutely nails his role.