Season two of “Euphoria” premiered on Jan. 9 to a massive 16.3 million viewers, more than double the average viewers of the first season.
The show, which was created, written and directed by Sam Levinson, had more viewers than any other HBO series aside from “Game of Thrones.” Levinson’s work also includes “Malcolm & Marie” and “Assassination Nation.”
Despite Levinson’s other works receiving mixed reviews, “Euphoria” has been met with mostly positive reception from casual viewers and critics alike. With a high viewer count and mostly positive reviews, the show had been renewed for a third season with a release date scheduled for sometime in 2024.
The show was difficult to watch at times for some. Heavy themes surrounding drugs, sex, abuse, social media and suicide are put at the forefront of the show’s plot. Even though the show was unwavering in its blunt depictions of difficult subjects, the series had remained a topic of conversation among its viewers.
“At first I thought the show was sort of glamorizing [drugs],” said sophomore film major, Spanish and photography minor, Alexia Thomposon. “But then the show took a different direction, which was good.”
Season two, which took place directly after the events of the first season, was largely centered around characters Rue, Cassie, Nate and Lexi, played by Zendaya, Sydney Sweeney, Jacob Elordi and Maude Apatow.
Other cast members Hunter Shafer, Alexa Demie, Angus Cloud and Barbie Ferreira reprised their roles as Jules, Maddy, Fezco and Kat, as well as musical artist, and up-and-coming actor, Dominic Fike who played the character Elliot.
In season two, the series continued Rue’s journey through relapse and her ultimate goal of sobriety, which was met with various challenges with the introduction of new characters. Meanwhile, other characters found themselves in a secret romantic relationship. As the characters progressed and continued to make questionable decisions, Lexi watched from the sidelines, using the events of her life as inspiration for her original school play.
Although the show has been met with critical acclaim, many viewers also recognize its flaws, specifically with the show’s creator, Sam Levinson.
“Euphoria is like watching a burning car on the side of the road,” said sophomore health education major and chemistry minor Jordan Richardson. “If you’re being honest, you could have gone without seeing it, but you can’t pull your eyes away.”
Sydney Sweeney as Cassie. Photo courtesy of HBO
Most of the criticism aimed at Levinson is seen on Twitter, typically talking about the nudity surrounding certain female characters, like Cassie.
“I don’t like the over-sexualization of Cassie,” Thompson said. “At the end of the day, these are supposed to be high school students and it feels inappropriate.”
Despite criticism, people still tuned in, recognizing how well the series handled drug abuse and appreciated the strong performances, specifically from Zendaya and Sydney Sweeney.
There are some, however, that didn’t like the show at all.
“I thought the show was crude and that it was too graphic,” said digital marketing business owner Carla Vargas. “There are people who are going to enjoy watching some of these graphic scenes and that is disturbing to me.”
Although Vargas personally didn’t like the way the series portrayed certain subjects, she also recognized how popular it was and understood why some people might be drawn to it.
“It might be that a lot of people identify with the show,” Vargas said. “At least, the drug situation.”
All eight episodes of “Euphoria” season two are available to stream on HBO Max.
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