Elite on Netflix is a Teen Drama series that highlights important social issues
Elite is a Spanish teen drama series that highlights themes of antagonism between the rich and poor, adolescent challenges of peer pressure and sexuality and crime in the society. It is a familiar story to other teen drama series like Riverdale but has a well-narrated story that makes it worth the time.
The growth of Netflix’s global reach has necessitated the online platform to invest in increasing and diversifying its catalog to include stories from different parts of the world. Shortly after releasing the Money Heist (La Casa de Papel), Netflix has yet another Spanish show, Elite, with some characters appearing in both of them. The narration style that is used in Elite is similar to the style used in Big Little Lies and Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why. All these shows follow two parallel narratives, often using flashback. In the teen drama, Elite, the story is told in two segments, the past and the present. The present shows an investigation into a murder that took place at the school, with each character being interviewed alone. The past then shows the events at the school leading up to the murder. This series can also be likened to the show American Vandal due to its setting in a school, the interviewing of students in an attempt to solve a mysterious crime and even the parallel narration style employed in both. In Elite, each episode features a different character’s interview along with a flashback of their story, a similar approach to 13 Reasons why and American Vandal.
Elite is a story that is set in an exclusive high school, Las Encinas, where the elite and wealthy of the country study. Three students from a local public school received scholarships to study in the exclusive school after their school infrastructure was destroyed by an earthquake. The entry of the new students raises several issues. To begin with, the conflict between the rich and the poor in the society is evident in the show as the rich students, especially the bully Guzman (Miguel Bernadeau) look down upon them. One of the students, Nadia (Mina El Herran), tries hard to get along with the rich kids but is faced with discrimination because of her religion. She is even forced to take her hijab off because the administration defined it as an accessory. The theme of teenage relationships is highlighted by Marina’s (Maria Pedraza) feelings for one of the new students, Samuel (Itzan Escamilla). Marina is trapped in her own skin by responsibilities and roles that she did not want to play but would not say it. She is the victim of the brutal murder for which other characters are being investigated.
Marina and Samuel eventually try to build a relationship against all odds as all people around them worked to break them apart. Marina is seen as a girl who is disturbed by previous events in her life, leading her to shun the rich and prefer the working class. Marina’s attraction to the working class is especially seen in her interactions with Nano, whom she flirts with despite their age difference. Her brother’s character, Omar, is used to highlight the problem of drug abuse by teenagers. He sells marijuana to some of the students. The principle’s son hides his sexuality and degenerates to alcoholism. Like many other teen drama series, there are sex scandals in the narrative too.
As the narrative goes on, however, new themes and twists continue to come up within the narrative,, making it difficult to follow on each one of them. As the investigations into the murder go on, new information and scandals such as unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, social exclusion and drug abuse are highlighted. Although this may take the suspense out of the initial storyline of the murder investigation, they work to highlight the plight of an adolescent’s life from different backgrounds. The differences in religion, sexuality, race and even economic status are highlighted, along with the social issues that they raise. These various themes are raised in an intricate plot that reveals the character’s persona and gives them more life such that their actions can be understood by their roles.
The series includes exquisite cinematography as well. The scenes for scandalous revelations, for instance, were set mainly as parties organized by the wealthy kids. Additionally, the such as those in the backstreets where Marina and Nano met secretly set exquisite scenes that can only be compared to great shows like Netflix’s Riverdale.