So, as one does, I binged the new show that many people are talking about. In all fairness it’s only 10 episodes, not my biggest binge…rookie numbers if you are into things like Supernatural or Law and Order with their gazillion episodes per umpteen seasons. However; I will say that Panic was a pretty easy watch. I am also not one to be into YA (Young Adult) books and movies. Most are hit or miss depending on how focused on the high school experience they are. Panic didn’t focus on the actual high school experience much, rather focusing on the lost and panicked feeling of not knowing what comes next. That, I can very much appreciate.
Set in a small Texas town after graduation, the show follows a group of teens during the summer before many move on to college as they participate in an annual game. They have been paying the prize pool all year and have accumulated $50,000. Run by unknown judges who seem to have been watching all the contestants from the beginning of the year, Panic is a series of tests to push the players beyond their comfort zones.
Let’s talk about what this show gets right: the mystery. I’ve watched enough shows like this that I could guess a lot of the plot, but the ultimate twist was not so clear. If a show can keep me doubting my guesses it can keep me watching, and this one did. Not everything is cut and dry and even with the ending it is clear that if they do a second season there is a whole lot more to explore –even if they keep the same characters.
Small town living is basically the same no matter where you are from. Panic was set in a Texas town, and I can say from experience the overlapping lives and the mess that creates makes for a good backdrop. Everybody knowing everything –or thinking they know everything– and believing rumors makes for an environment where the struggle to find your identity is next to impossible This show captures that for several of the characters.
Another thing Panic gets right is representation. There are two Black leads in the ensemble: Jessica Sula as Natalie and Camron Jones as Bishop. I appreciate that neither were sacrificed for the white leads. Even though this isn’t exactly a horror scenario, there are hints of it. The stereotypical troupes I’ve seen in the past weren’t used in this instance.
There were two fat characters, both competing in different years, but the one that competed this year, played by Cosme Flores, made it pretty far and wasn’t constantly mocked for their body. Now, that isn’t to say things weren’t said, but at the end of the day their size was not the main focus. As a fat person myself, I appreciate that.
There is also a wheelchair-bound character. I will say though the character is used as a part of the reason one of the main characters is driven to do what they do, they aren’t helpless. In fact, she is very optimistic for her future despite being seen as “fragile” by those around her. Madison Ferris plays the character Dayna Mason, and though she doesn’t get a lot of screen time she is memorable. Madison Ferris herself has muscular dystrophy and uses a wheelchair. Though the show does focus on the character being paralyzed from being hit by a car, it is quite clear it isn’t all the character focuses on. Unfortunately, it is all her brother can focus on for the most part, which becomes a bit tiresome.
I haven’t heard if they are going to have a second season. Fortunately, most of the questions brought up in the series are answered, so you won’t be left with a big cliffhanger if they do not move forward with a second season. I appreciate that, considering another season is never guaranteed for any show nowadays. Overall, I would say if you got a few hours this 10 episode series is worth a watch.
You can find Panic season one on Amazon Prime.