When the first trailer premiered for Netflix’s American Vandal: Season One, the internet was taken aback by the apparent parody of the plethora of dramatic docu-series on the streaming platform.
Many subscribers thought it was a tongue-in-cheek, hyper-aware spoof on the mass amount of dramatic content Netflix was releasing. It wasn’t until the release date was shown that many were forced to take this show seriously…a mockumentary about someone who spray-painted dicks onto cars and a couple students documenting the case to find out the whole truth. This is a series that many could’ve dismissed as childish, absurd and a mockery of the content that a large percentage of Netflix subscribers love (Making A Murderer, The Staircase, etc). But, when the first season was released, it was very quickly realized that subscribers were given a true gift of comedic genius and captivating storytelling from someone who truly understands the docu-series format. Even critics were surprised by the quality of this show…some calling it the ‘best series Netflix has released;’ and, I couldn’t have agreed more.
Just like with Stranger Things and 13 Reasons Why, Netflix received a lot of pressure for a second season for a show that could’ve easily been kept at one. So, when I heard about the renewal of American Vandal for a second season, I became curious as to how they’d be able to replicate the sheer genius of season one from a comedic standpoint and from a storytelling perspective.
Thankfully…after binging the entire Second Season, I am writing this review today to tell you that they’ve done it. American Vandal: Season 2 ups the ante in almost every way.
This season sees the return of documentarians Peter Maldonado and Sam Ecklund covering a brand-new case a Senior Project in Seattle, Washington. The opening episode is full of laughs and kicks things off right away covering a lot more ground than you expect leaving you asking yourself: where are they going to go in the next seven episodes? But, the journey Sam & Peter take us on is one with a deeper story than Season One, fascinating characters and…a lot of poop.
While the First Season of American Vandal had seemingly consistent laughs throughout, it still had it’s serious moments leaving the viewer with their own opinion of what actually happened. Without spoiling anything, the last few episodes of Season One even take a more serious approach…but, it works incredibly well. With Season Two, the first episode starts off with many ridiculous scenes, but then grabs you and takes you on a journey much darker than the first…and, that’s what really sells Season Two. Creator Tony Yacenda has such a firm understanding for the show he is setting out to make. He knows where the jokes will hit and what kind of journey he wants to take the audience on. Tony also a substantial amount to say about High School and the current generation of kids. This is an ambitious season with a lot of incredible points that should really speak to a lot of younger audiences who are watching this series.
But, the greatest thing about this entire series is that Tony Yacenda is creating a show for two types of people: the people who love mystery docu-series and the people who can’t watch docu-series for their dark, disturbing content. This show is a tribute to people who are addicted to murder mysteries and whodunnit’s…but, it’s also something that the squeamish can watch and feel like they are getting a dose of the thrilling content viewed by so many on Netflix.
All in all, I truly believe that American Vandal: Season 2 takes everything that got right in Season One and maximizes it (if that’s even possible) by giving us a season that’s not only funny, thrilling and captivating…but, also one that has a lot to say about today’s youth. While I wish there had been a bit more covering Sam and Peter like in Season One, I completely understand why they chose not to go that route: it just didn’t make sense for the narrative being told. But, all I can do is hope that there’s a third season; because, at this point after a brilliant second season, Netflix has proved that they can take this show wherever they want and it’ll be gold.
American Vandal still proves to be one of the best shows Netflix has released, and if you haven’t watched Season One…now is the time to invite some folks over and binge the entire series on September 14th when Season Two premieres.