“Angsty Syd navigates high school awkwardness, family drama and an unrequited crush on her best friend while trying to rein in her budding superpowers.” A well-executed project, which falls short on a few things it intends to cover. It is a coming of age dramedy and an origin story at the same time.
We see Syd trying to get by with the everyday struggles of the life of an average teenager. There is her attraction towards Dina and the resulting struggle with her sexuality, her relationship with Stanley which, at first, does not seem like just friendship, and Staley’s admiration for her. Syd’s mother adds a little spice to the plot by way of their strained relationship stemming from not dealing with the trauma caused by the unexplained suicide of Syd’s father, which seems like lack of support to Syd. The dynamic Syd has with her brother is a joy and lightens the mood a little. There is also the feeling of not being understood, quite common on teen focused plots. What sets it apart is that she has telekinetic powers and dealing with that is something others in her life would actually not understand.
The powers manifest when Syd is stressed out, which feeds into her lack of control over them, which in turn feeds the anxiety, and Syd is shaken as she gradually recognises that she is the one causing them. Each experience she has with this adds to her character development through the episodes rather than just leading to more anxiety and eventual chaos, which it does, and we see a glimpse of mystery at the end of the season. But the show manages to keep the focus on Syd herself, and not solely on what she can do with her superpowers.
The character development and the dynamic between the characters are good. The focus fades out, however, as we move father away from Syd in the social nexus, which is not something to be complained about. What can be complained about is the seemingly missing pieces when it comes to Dina, with the lack of a similar depth we see with Stanley, for example. One more thing here – there is not enough in the plot to ground the fact that Dina is Syd’s best friend.
Syd’s monologues through her diary seem a little out of place, as Sophia Lillis’s performance is more than enough to get the point across, and the few points that are not covered are or can be presented directly in the plot. What adds on to this is that Syd does not seem like a character inclined towards writing and maintaining a diary. But I may be missing something in this regard.
The gradual tone of the plot is enjoyable. Performance of the cast is remarkable. The world built around the story and the washed-out, retro aesthetic of the show match and complement the story well. With each episode spanning less than half an hour, it is a binge-worthy show I would recommend.