When HBO’s Euphoria premiered in June 2019, barely anyone knew that the show would become a generational staple. The show not only won the hearts of several Gen-Zers, but it also proved once and for all that Zendaya has come a long way from her Disney days. Breaking away from the golden-child characters in her previous TV appearances, she plays the lead role of Rue Bennet, a drug-addicted teenager in the critically acclaimed series. The drastic change from a Disney child actor to an addicted teenager is as brilliant as it is shocking.
By the end of season one, Zendaya had successfully broken out from the ‘child star’ category and cemented herself as an A-list actress with her exceptional performance as Rue who is trying to find hope while balancing the pressures of love, loss and addiction. She impressed critics so much on the season two preview that Mashable’s Alison Foreman wrote, “Zendaya is at a career-best with a performance so dazzling they might as well engrave her trophies now.” Interestingly, about two years before that article, the actress had won the 2019 People’s Choice Award for ‘Favorite Drama TV Star’ and later the 2020 Black Reel Award for ‘Outstanding Actress, Drama Series.
Earlier in August 2019, when the Guardian’s Rebecca Nicholson wrote, “the former Disney star Zendaya is reinvented as the self-destructive, self-loathing Rue, in what is a truly astonishing, mesmerising performance, upending every expectation of what she could do”, it was as if she could foresee the awards pouring in. Zendaya won the 2020 Primetime Emmy Award for ‘Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for the same role (which saw her breaking the record for the youngest ever actress to scoop the title).
Perhaps, it’s a little unfair to heap all the praises on one person when the show is a brilliant work of art. With the help of a fantastic crew, Euphoria creator Sam Levinson put together a cast list that reads like a who’s-who of rising young stars. Returning faces for season two include Hunter Schafer as Jules, Sydney Sweeney, Algee Smith, Storm Reid, Jacob Elordi, Alexa Demie, Barbie Ferreira, Austin Abrams, Maude Apatow, and Eric Dane.
The show is highly controversial, but even at that, it has developed quite a dedicated fan base for all the right reasons. The debut review in the Guardian succinctly explains this. Nicholson opines, “Euphoria will certainly not appeal to all tastes, but it is far less brash than it has been made out to be. There are deep sophistications hidden within its more straightforwardly angsty digressions.”
Euphoria has won the 2020 Emmys for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics and Contemporary Makeup. The two-part-special bridging the pandemic-enforced gap between seasons received nominations for a Peabody Award and three 2021 Emmys for Cinematography, Make-up and Costume.
Nearly two years after the 2019–2020 Euphoria two-part special, the show is back for a second season, and it’s as risque as ever but even more popular. The ground-breaking hit series topped multiple “the most anticipated shows of 2022” lists, from Complex to Esquire, Mashable to Polygon. The season two trailer hit over 1 million views on YouTube within the first 12 hours when it dropped at the end of November last year.
The second season promises to be more dramatic than season one as reviews are already claiming the show is more shocking in its sophomore season than it ever was in the debut, which is saying a lot. Even though we expect more drama from all the characters, there’s probably a rough rollercoaster of a season ahead, especially for Rue and Jules. Even Zendaya tries as much as possible to prepare fans for the incoming onslaught of complicated emotions in an interview with Extra TV. In her words,
The first four episodes of the highly anticipated second season of Euphoria are currently available on Showmax, with new episodes coming express from the US every Monday.
DATE PUBLISHED: February 2, 2022