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2021 was a big year for television, from the many new Disney+ shows like Hawkeye and WandaVision to the intense and dramatic Squid Game on Netflix. Making a big splash on a slightly less popular streaming service, however, was the show Yellowjackets on Showtime. Read on below to find out why there’s so much hype around this surprise smash hit.
What is Yellowjackets?
Inspired by the classic novel Lord of the Flies and true stories like the 1972 Andes flight disaster and the Donner Party, Yellowjackets is a story of a team of high school soccer players that is stranded in the wilderness after a plane crash and resorts to cannibalism to survive.
The idea for the story was originally conceived by writers Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson after an announcement from Warner Bros. in 2017 that they would begin work on a movie adaptation of Lord of the Flies with an all-female cast. The film never came to fruition, however, but Lyle and Nickerson and The Mark Gordon Company brought Yellowjackets to Showtime in 2018.
Why all the hype?
One source of the buzz around Yellowjackets is the characters’ controversial and shocking descent into cannibalism following the plane crash. The show is meant to be a commentary on human nature and a “metaphor for teenage hierarchy.” According to Lyle, “This show is an exploration of the best and worst that human beings are capable of.”
This subject matter can be upsetting for many viewers, so a word of warning – go forward carefully if you choose to watch the show. The show’s TV-MA rating means it doesn’t hold back with the violence and gore, and the overall theme can be too much for some viewers.
Yellowjackets is a mystery of sorts, but unlike anything before it. The show flashes back and forth between the characters’ lives in 2021 and the 1996 plane crash and succeeding events. This setup gives the viewer some insight into the future of the 1996 characters’ stories but keeps the viewer gripped as the plot unfolds.
The back-and-forth timeline creates an interesting dynamic. The 2021 characters know the full story of their 19 months stranded after the plane crash, but the viewers have to find out along the way.
While the flashbacks to the events following the plane crash are important, the portion of the plot that takes place in 2021 is no less essential to the story. The four remaining survivors in 2021 are faced with challenges as they attempt to keep the true story of the events following the crash hidden from the world.
An excellent cast
Yellowjackets has received an outpour of both critical acclaim and audience love for its cast. As the show takes place with characters 25 years apart in time, multiple characters are played by two different actors or actresses, and they have all been acclaimed for an excellent portrayal of the same characters at different points in life.