Top 10 Reasons You Should Be Watching Yellowjackets

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Top 10 Reasons You Should Be Watching Yellowjackets

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Zachary Siechen
You need to be watching "Yellowjackets." For this list, we'll be looking at reasons why this innovative new “Showtime” series will delight both new and veteran TV fans. Our countdown includes the mysteries, sharp writing, complicated women, and more!
Transcript

Top 10 Reasons You Should Be Watching Yellowjackets


Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Reasons You Should Be Watching Yellowjackets.

For this list, we’ll be looking at reasons why this innovative new “Showtime” series will delight both new and veteran TV fans. We’ll definitely be serving up some spoilers, so if you’re not caught up, you have been warned.

Tell us what you think the buzz is all about in the comments.

#10: Karyn Kusama, Ashley Lyle, & Bart Nickerson


“Yellowjackets” has some busy worker bees behind its inception. Co-creators Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson stem from work on quality projects like “Narcos: Mexico” and “The Originals.” They’ve also collaborated on “Dispatches from Elsewhere,” a premise that introduces ordinary people to extraordinary situations in “Twilight Zone” tradition. Filmmaker Karyn Kusama directed the “Yellowjackets” pilot and serves as one of the series’ executive producers; her credentials include “Girlfight” and the oddball teen horror comedy “Jennifer’s Body.” All three creative minds seem to gravitate to one-of-a-kind ideas that, for better or for worse, get people talking. We can’t wait to see what they’ll do to make their new endeavor something unforgettable.

#9: The Mysteries


“Yellowjackets’” many unanswered questions only make number nine on the list, and that’s a sign of exciting things to come. There may not be as many riddles as a certain other plane crash-incited mystery show, but there are enough to tangle up some Reddit threads. What really drives the survivors to cannibalism? What’s with that strange symbol? Who was the man in the cabin? How many survive the wilderness? What really happened to Travis? Who is the unfortunate sacrifice from the opening scene? The first few minutes alone had viewers buzzing with theories. The narrative also jumps between two time periods, creating rampant possibilities for red herrings and revelations. “Yellowjackets” could be gearing up to become a great new water cooler show.

#8: Genre Blending


Take any screenwriting class, and the teacher will warn you to avoid mixing genres like the plague. That’s because usually only the most skilled writers can marry contrasting dramatic categories and make them believably inhabit the same world. “Yellowjackets” is part mystery-suspense, part survival thriller, part coming-of-age drama, part supernatural horror, and a little dose of high school comedy. The joy of this mash-up is that the story is ripe with tonal shifts and unpredictability. And that makes it fun. There’s a wide range of audiences who are likely to be enticed by at least one aspect of the show. And it’s a rush to go from crying, to laughing, to screaming, all before the next commercial break.

#7: The Time Period(s)


Nineties nostalgia seems like it’s been popular since 1999 became 2000. “Yellowjackets” is a tale of two time periods, as we follow the characters both as surviving adults in the present day and as teens in 1996. The show magnificently transports us back to the nineties with a soundtrack of everything from “Smashing Pumpkins” to “Salt-N-Pepa,” and vibrant colors and costumes are likely to ring true for pre-millennium babies. Scenes that occur in the 2021 time period feel distinctly different and seem to subtly long for the bygone era. Shows like “Stranger Things” have already proven that audiences love this kind of time travel. Jumping between both decades is fun and authentic, and it’s an effective and immersive world-building technique.

#6: Handling Addiction & Mental Illness


The scariest part of fiction often occurs when it’s invaded by the traumas of reality. “Yellowjackets” doesn’t shy away from disorders, bravely depicting issues like shock, PTSD, and survivor’s guilt. Damaged characters like Natalie grapple with alcoholism and drug addiction, and their portrayal here feels disquietingly genuine. Unstable minds like Misty’s are caustically lonely and potentially psychotic, while Taissa wrestles with troublesome sleepwalking that threatens to alienate her loved ones. None of these ailments define the characters cursed with them, but are rather partial organic elements of their personalities. Because “Yellowjackets” gives us a nuanced sense of what these conditions actually feel like, rather than caricatures, the show pays respect to real-world addiction and illness while also enhancing its own fictional universe.

#5: Sharp Writing


Speaking of combating caricature, “Yellowjackets” will likely hook you with relatable three-dimensional characters, even before the mystery and horror set in.
The depiction of adolescents ascends typical teen stereotypes, showing them as flawed and foul-mouthed young adults who make adult decisions. Contrastingly, the grownups can behave like children, and they often act in ways contrary to their words. Commonly delineated scenes have been written in invigorating new ways by characters who all speak just a little differently from each other. Like, have you ever heard someone’s backstory told as a haiku? The writers know how humans tick, and it’s absorbing to watch them prove it with each new episode.

#4: The Young Cast


Showtime’s casting directors struck yellow gold when they discovered their high school soccer team. Not only do the young cast members resemble their adult counterparts exceptionally, but they effectively match the emotional weight and dramatic intricacy required by the roles. The junior players completely disappear into their parts, going so far as to consult with their grown-up doppelgängers to make sure that specific mannerisms and speech patterns match. Canadian Sophie Nélisse is already an award-winner, and both English star Ella Purnell and American Sophie Thatcher started in the competitive world of musical theater. The rising stars show glorious promise for their talent and careers, and the mainstream world is now taking notice on the “Yellowjackets” stage.

#3: The Veteran Cast


The ensemble members with a bit more experience under their belt are also here and happy to show just what that experience has taught them. Heavyweights include Academy Award nominee Juliette Lewis and award-winning New Zealander Melanie Lynskey. Tawny Cypress contributes her “House of Cards” momentum, and it’s all capped-off with our favorite friendly-ghost loving nineties star Christina Ricci. In particular, Lewis and Ricci shine, each carrying a different version of manic unpredictability that suggests they’re just seconds away from snapping. It’s fitting for this period piece to feature the return of such long-serving superstars, and they proudly show that their talent and creative passions are still as ripe as ever.

#2: Complicated Women


We’re in a renaissance of female representation in the media, and it welcomes stories like “Yellowjackets.” The show’s writing and production crew carry a strong female presence, and they’ve crafted a troupe of spellbindingly complex female characters. The “Yellowjackets” teens may squabble and gossip, but they also bond, laugh, and love each other like real people. Same-sex partners receive bona fide representation among some of the most aimiable characters. There’s also a place for midlife crises, including marriage problems and aging feelings of unfulfillment. Best of all, these dynamics feel natural and inherent to the story, rather than boxes checked-off for a political agenda. Women are taking a powerful stand at today’s podium, and this is the way to do it.

#1: Fierce Originality


In an era of adaptations, spin-offs and sequels, it seems that original concepts play second-fiddle exceptions to the reboot rule. While some re-imaginings are welcome, it’s a breath of fresh wilderness air when writers return to the caveman days of simple inspiration. While “Yellowjackets” does borrow conceptually from stories like “Lord of the Flies” and real-life disasters like Andes Flight 571, it spins reused ideas into an unfamiliar dramatic web. “Yellowjackets” boldly hangs plot in the ominous background of character drama. It trusts audiences to accept a logistical depiction of survival that also happens to feature séances and supernatural possession. And its apparent success is encouraging proof that audiences are hungry for new television that dares to dream outside the black box.
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