Never Have I Ever - Netflix
Season 1 of Never Have I Ever dropped last spring while we were all in the initial grips of the COVID quarantine crisis. The show was a refreshing ray of light during a dark time and justly won high praise (97% on Rotten Tomatoes). The highly anticipated season 2 of this wonderful series dropped a few weeks back on July 15.
The show is about Devi, a high school Indian student, with a group of wacky friends navigating their way through school, romance, academics, family, etc., etc. This kind of thing has been done a hundred times before, but what makes this show special is the experience (often quite humorous) of Indian culture and norms, the zany things the characters get caught up
in, the snappy dialogue, and the ring of authenticity the show has. On top of all, the Season 1 gave us a heart-warming ending, and all of the episodes were presented by possibly the most unusual narrator ever: John McEnroe.
Season 1 is a tough act to follow, and Season 2 doesn’t quite reach the same level of excellence. A big part of the reason is that the second season doesn’t have the same freshness and snap as the first. How could it? For example, John McEnroe still delivers a first rate narration, but the novelty has worn off. So, the show has to make it on the strength of the story and the characters, and it generally succeeds.
Devi continues to fumble her way through love and friendships: making mistakes, fixing them, making new ones. Ben and Paxton continue on as the two primary boys in her life, who ensure that no day goes by without some drama. Paxton earns a much deeper treatment in Season 2 (including Gigi Hadid as his narrator for one episode), and a number of the minor characters also get fleshed out more. The later episodes have a several warm and touching moments to go along with some painful ones.
So, I rate Season 2 a success and a must watch for anyone who enjoyed Season 1. Judging from the ending of the last episode, the creators are angling for a Season 3. I hope it works out. I’ll certainly watch it.