TIME

A Netflix hit you won’t see coming

In The Society, a group of teens must form a new civilization after all the adults in their town mysteriously disappear

AROUND FIVE YEARS AGO, CHRISTOPHER Keyser found himself pondering the state of human society. “How did we get here?” he asked himself. “And is this the best we could have done?” These are the kind of big questions that fuel great literature, but Keyser, who co-created the ’90s prime-time hit Party of Five, works in television. So he, alongside director and fellow executive producer Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer), endeavored to translate his inquiries onto the screen in the form of a show that would be both philosophical and entertaining.

The result is The Society, a surprising, provocative, occasionally messy yet frequently revelatory series whose first season arrives on Netflix on May 10. Its appeal may not be obvious from the banal pilot, which recalls recent teen sci-fi serials like the CW’s The 100 and Netflix’s The Rain: Beset by an unexplained nauseating odor,

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