Élite is the perfect remedy to all those other high school series you’ve been watching. Binge now before the season 3 premiere hits Netflix.
If blue jackets with red piping are for you, but the singing in Glee is a deal breaker; if murder and a coverup that spans over two seasons is for you, but How to Get Away With Murder has too many seasons; if you miss the prep school drama of Gossip Girl and want a new group of students to despise and cheer for, then might I recommend one of the best new dramas on Netflix: Élite.
The Spanish series is about to debut its third season on Netflix and there is still plenty of time to make it your new favorite series. One thing to note is that this series should 100% be watched with subtitles if you do not speak Spanish.
Élite takes place at a private academy, Las Encinas, in Spain where three students from outside the community that houses mansions and trust funds find themselves thrust into a world they’ve only ever served. Our eyes into the high life are Samuel, Christian, and Nadia who are recipients of a scholarship provided by a builder whose shotty work was responsible for the collapse of their old school.
The creators, Darío Madrona and Carlos Montero, know this world inside and out and not a single stone is left unturned — even if you do not realize you’ve been turning them all along. The series covers approximately one year in total the third season looks like it is going to reach graduation for at least most of our characters. With so many questions left unanswered and a bombshell of a final shot of season 2, the best is certainly yet to come.
Still on the fence? Here are a few reasons you should settle in and binge the series.
Why you should be watching ‘Élite’?
Visual cues and structure are everything
The narrative structure of the first two seasons sets you about three quarters of the way through each season’s arc. From there, the episodes are generally told in chronological order from start to finish with only glimpses of the real time story sprinkled throughout. Much like How to Get Away With Murder, it will leave you guessing not only the who, but the what, how, when and why of the big picture.
While it may seem that two seasons of the same structure would lead to some repetitiveness, nothing could be further from the truth. The second season picks up on the fallout from the first and dives so deep into the emotional resonance of the (spoiler!) murder. Watching how that affects the characters — driving some to investigate, others to live their lives without fear of consequence, and in particular the spiraling out of control of the murderer — becomes more rewarding with each passing episode.
Visual notes and recurring motifs are another thing that the series has going for it. Part of this is in part due to the directing duties being bestowed upon three people. Ramón Salazar, Dani de la Orden, and Sílvia Quer, directed the first 16 episodes. Pay special attention to shift in focus on the pools, even those you might not expect, in season 1 to season 2, it is one of my favorite threads to follow.
Is murder an extracurricular?
The spring return of network dramas set in high school can only mean one thing — graduation is right around the corner. And as plans for “what’s next” start to fill the halls and homes of students, the after-school activities for the students of TK look a bit thin.
But you only live once, right? So long as you can keep your grades high enough or at least bribe the teachers, your parents will pay your way to the top. Enter the parties, the clubs, the drugs, drinking, and general debauchery. In season 1, there is a birthday party blowout, in season 2, there a Halloween party with a few surprise guests under the masks.
But all the while there are those who are out to destroy their own lives and bring down everyone else with them. And through a few selfish acts, we are privy to watching long-standing histories unravel. I must stress that decisions do not come lightly on Élite. It is one of the most admirable features of the show. These characters actions are so calculated, that when a free radical is introduced, absolute chaos ensues.
By having such a vivid roadmap in mind, the creators are able to push these characters into fast-formed and ever-changing alliances while also making it next to impossible to decipher from genuine connection.
Does anyone have parents?
Like most high school series, a select few parents are noticeably absent. But there are several parents who are ever present without stealing any of the spotlight from their children. Instead, their presence is meant to highlight how their children were shaped and where their values lie. Are they rebelling? Working for them? Or doing everything in their power to live up to what their parents want them to be?
Sibling duos drive a large part of narratives across the series. There are Samuel and the return of his brother, Nano, as well as Guzmán and Marina.
The stories of Nadia and Omar is especially touching as the brother and sister duo find that their lives and the passions they pursue for themselves tend to push them in direct opposition to their Muslim faith. Every day, they test the boundaries of their faith, their respect for their parents, and their trust in each other. They find that when they restrain their emotions the consequences are far worse.
In the second season, a new character, Cayetana, arrives and introduces a new personality to the mix. But it is her surprise familial reveal that layers one of the most interesting storylines of the series. And a sibling’s return will leave you completely uneasy when the reveal of his past indiscretions with another character are revealed.
Need more reasons to watch ‘Élite’?
- Once you’re done binging you will want to follow the cast on Instagram. The BTS shoots and even the official Netflix accounts are all great.
- If you don’t find yourself walking around just saying Guzmán’s name after one episode, then the show has not done its job.
- International dramas are so much more refreshing than repetative American series. Élite has led me to a few more series I would have never otherwise checked out!
- There is a surprising alliance in season 2 that I still cannot stop thinking about!
- So many relationships to root for and against. It will hit all those angsty hot spots.
- Sometimes watching high school dramas as an adult can feel a bit weird. I never once got that feeling watching Élite.
Élite season 3 premieres on Netflix March 13. Seasons 1 and 2 are available now.