Peacock’s ‘One of Us Is Lying’ Review – The Hollywood Reporter
Peacock’s One among Us Is Mendacity is a bit bit Breakfast Membership, a bit bit Gossip Woman, a bit bit Fairly Little Liars, and an entire lot conscious that it’s constructing on the tropes and stereotypes that got here lengthy earlier than it — characters recurrently name-check different reveals, films and genres, together with horror and true crime. However acknowledging the clichés it’s trafficking in isn’t the identical factor as transcending them, and the results of all this mixing and matching is a teen homicide thriller sequence that’s persistently watchable however by no means fairly nice.
Primarily based on the e book by Karen McManus, the drama begins on the primary day of college with a tantalizing put up on About THAT — a weblog spilling all the college’s dirtiest secrets and techniques, run by misanthropic outcast Simon (Mark McKenna) — promising imminent reveals on 4 unnamed college students. Earlier than Simon can ship, nevertheless, he winds up in detention. And earlier than detention is over, he’s lifeless of an allergic response, in what seems to the cops to be a murder.
One among Us Is Mendacity
The Backside Line
Simple to binge and simple to overlook.
Suspicion shortly falls on the 4 college students who had been with him when he died — every of whom harbors a secret with the potential to derail their future, and every of whom had motive to worry they had been about to be uncovered in Simon’s subsequent missive. There’s Bronwyn (Marianly Tejada), the straight-A pupil who might not be as squeaky-clean as she appears; Cooper (Chibuikem Uche), the star baseball participant nonetheless within the closet; Addy (Annalisa Cochrane), the cheerleader dishonest on her long-term boyfriend; and Nate (Cooper van Grootel), the small-time drug seller whose subsequent offense might land him in jail.
For all of the splashy intrigue urged by that premise, One among Us Is Mendacity‘s secret weapon is a extra delicate one. Showrunner Darío Madrona (Elite) has a assured grasp on the homicide thriller’s pacing, doling out twists and clues at a gentle sufficient clip to maintain a viewer’s consideration from ever wandering too far — however slowly sufficient that every new reveal has time to sink in. The largest bombshells (often within the type of a brand new About THAT put up from no matter nameless creeper has taken over the account since Simon’s passing) are deployed with restraint, and have a tendency to scramble the taking part in board at exactly the second we or the characters are on the verge of getting too snug.
In the meantime, the ever-shifting friendships, feuds and romances among the many varied characters lean into the teenager drama truism that nobody in highschool is precisely the social stereotype they appear to be. Predictably, the 4 survivors discover themselves compelled collectively by Simon’s demise, and, predictably, they arrive to know each other even higher, in some methods, than their very own family and friends do. The present’s most touching scenes are likely to embrace these cross-clique connections: Addy teasing Nate about his apparent puppy-dog crush on Bronwyn, or Cooper beginning to heat to Nate after realizing their residence lives aren’t as totally different as they’d assumed.
And but what eludes One among Us Is Mendacity is a few particular spark to set it other than all the opposite homicide mysteries and teenage dramas on the market — some subversion or deepening of the formulation it’s trafficking in, some jagged edges to interrupt up all its slick competence. Within the first episode, Simon groans that Bayview Excessive is a complete cliché: “It’s like everybody’s right here to audition for the reboot of a John Hughes film.” After the primary three episodes despatched to critics (out of eight complete), the sequence has but to shake that feeling. The characters nonetheless really feel extra like archetypes than residing, respiratory folks. If there’s any profound perception to be present in Simon’s demise or all the things that’s come after, the sequence has but to tip its hand as to what it is likely to be.
The present is pitched nearly continually at a bitter, dour temper, with few moments of both levity or uncooked ache. (One unexpectedly lovable exception is Nate’s occasional conversations along with his pet iguana. Extra of that, please.) The colours are fairly however muted, as in the event that they’ve been put by a very aggressive Instagram filter, and the performances are equally restrained. These creative selections lend One among Us Is Mendacity an artificiality that, to be truthful, appears becoming for a present about folks attempting desperately to tamp down unsavory truths about themselves. However in addition they preserve the present’s feelings at arm’s size.
This lack isn’t insurmountable. With all the things the present does have going for it, One among Us Is Mendacity slides neatly into that class of streaming reveals you may binge over a weekend with out actually which means to. The story strikes ahead at a painless tempo, and the characters are simple sufficient to love, if not likely attention-grabbing sufficient to like. However with none notable quirks or deep insights (or, actually, even a single character who’s enjoyable to hate or thrilling to crush on), it’s additionally a present that appears more likely to disappear from reminiscence as quickly as that binge is over. Perhaps Nate, Cooper, Bronwyn and Addy actually do have hidden depths. However the present they’re on is all easy, shiny floor.