Coming-of-age tales set in a post-apocalyptic world have threatened to become a played-out concept, but that doesn't mean the sub-genre is devoid of quality. In its earliest minutes, Netflix's The Rain definitely has a vibe like it's going to be like everything else out there, but by the first episode's end, viewers will know the streaming service's first Danish series is a cut above the rest.
With its tale set in a world where heavy rains carried a deadly virus throughout Scandinavia and wiped out the human population, The Rain is better than most teen dystopian thrillers in many ways, and is definitely worth a binge-watch for anyone recently fatigued by dystopian flicks where random 16-year-olds are purported to be humanity's saviors. Need proof? Let's hash it out.
Survival Is Put Above The Teenage Experience
One of the most frustrating tropes of heightened teen dramas is the way both normal and overwrought teenage emotions are shoe-horned into post-apocalyptic situations. Sure, teens are horny and angry and emotional all the time, but would anyone in a real life-or-death situation be focused on such everyday notions? The Rain definitely tackles these types of issues in its first episodes, which helps to build up these limited personalities, but at the end of the day, each and every character is far more concerned about surviving the damned outbreak than by "finding their meaning in the world," or anything like that.
Hormones are unavoidable, sure, but it's hard to argue that teenagers that spent six years in hardcore isolation are bound to be different than whatever teens are watching the program on Netflix. The show balances that aspect better than most, yet definitely finds appropriate way to work the teenage experience into the story. And all without Instagram and trite poetry.
The Rain Is Much Darker Than Typical YA Thrillers
The Rain is listed as a young-adult thriller, but The Hunger Games and Divergent fans should expect a far darker narrative. Those squeamish about the sight of dead bodies will have to suck it up during the eight-episode season, because this version of Scandinavia is littered with them. Men, women, and even children will be seen in various states of decay throughout the series, which really helps depict the level of devastation caused by the viral outbreak.
As for the living survivors, six years of desperately avoiding infections, as well as fighting for scraps, has created some particularly violent people, and The Rain doesn't shield audiences from some disturbing and gruesome scenes. Bottom line, there's definitely more emphasis on the "adult," than "young," when it comes to this show, although that's not a bad thing for everyone of age.
Rain Is A Surprisingly Refreshing Antagonist
Make no mistake, this series is called The Rain for a reason, as downpours are indeed the primary threat in the show. If you come in contact with falling rain or standing rainwater, you will become infected, and you will die a painful death. It's fairly simple for a major threat, and may even be seen as somewhat silly at first. At least until viewers can actually see just how tough an enemy a natural element can be. This isn't M. Night Shyamalan's The Happening, folks.
Absent-mindedly step in a puddle? Boom, you're done. Get caught outside in an open forest during a drizzle? Sorry for your loss, bub. Without revealing too much, I'll say the rain isn't the only enemy our survivors have to worry about in their travels, since humanity will never be topped there. But the rain is definitely the most deadly, and it offers a refreshing take on the traditional opposing forces that teens in post-apocalyptic dramas are always going up against. As well as a different take on bonkers climate thrillers like Geostorm.
The Change Of Scenery Is So Welcome
Many Americans have never been to Denmark, Norway, or Sweden, and when we see those nations represented in pop culture, its usually for pretty fashion models or IKEA. So it's kind of cool and unique to see those countries get thrown into disarray for The Rain, after so many fictional wastelands set in America or generic future societies.
Surprisingly enough, even mass populations of dead bodies and unconquerable plant overgrowth can't completely stamp out the natural beauty of Northern Europe, and it might even encourage some who watch The Rain to attempt to visit the area, perhaps with more umbrellas than previous plans might have called for. I don't blame anyone for that, either, but we do suggest that anyone making the trip avoids admitting to travel agents and airline personnel that The Rain was the trip's inspiration. That's just weird.
There's Never A Dull Moment
Of all its noteworthy qualities, one of the best things about Netflix's The Rain is the way it quickly hooks viewers with near-constant tension and high-stakes scenarios, and just doesn't let up. Calling back to the lack of hyperbolic teen angst, don't expect a lot of filler moments, as these teens are almost always on the move after the events of Episode 1, and there's always something dangerous or exciting happening.
Since there are only eight episodes in the entire season, The Rain's break-neck pace isn't entirely unexpected, but is definitely still a positive checkmark for this series' binge-ability factor. Series that drag their narrative feet trying to fill episode counts are definitely more notable when entire seasons are dropped onto streaming platform, as opposed to the traditional television model, so let's give The Rain creators Jannik Tai Mosholt, Christian Potalivo, and Esben Toft Jacobsen for not wasting any spare moments when crafting this chilling series.
The Rain officially arrives on Netflix on Friday, May 4 at 12:01 a.m. PT, and we'll almost definitely hear about any future seasons in the weeks and months after. For a look at other things headed to Netflix in the near future, visit our Netflix premiere guide. Those looking to see what all is coming to television in 2018 in the next couple of months can find out with our midseason and summer premiere guides.