Sex Education

Sex Education

2019 - United Kingdom

‘Well-written, well-acted and sensitively portrayed’

Sex Education review by Jennifer AJ 

Equal in parts daring and relatable, the British teen series Sex Education offers an honest look at Gen Z and their relationships with sex. This series has captured a massive fanbase thanks to its candy-coloured coming-of-age comedy with a side of raunchy hijinks. Packed with a memorable cast of characters, it’s easy to get sucked into the world around Moordale Secondary School and find out how this crazy bunch navigates their sexual awakenings. 

Sex Education TV series

The series follows Otis Milburn (Asa Butterfield - Merlin), an unpopular high schooler at Moordale with a surprising amount of knowledge about sex (theoretically) thanks to his open-minded sex therapist mum, Jean Milburn (Gillian Anderson – X Files, Bleak House). His skill is accidentally discovered by rebellious classmate Maeve Wiley (Emma Mackey - Barbie), who proposes that they join hands in offering sex consultation services to fellow students for money. Their underground sex clinic proves to be a success, but with it also comes emotional complications. With raging hormones, horny teens and soul-searching abound, there’s never a dull moment at Moordale.

Sex Education TV series

There’s no question that Gen Z is the most forward-thinking generation when it comes to sex and sexual identity. The show displays the many facets of teenagers’ struggles with this aspect of their lives. From difficulties getting off, and confused sexual orientation to STDs, Otis and Maeve’s clients have gone through it all. Despite their openness, it becomes clear that they’re still just kids with all the insecurities and self-doubt that come with puberty. Sexual problems often turn out to be an extension of problems at home, lending the subject matter the kind of sensitivity that older teen sex comedies never really touch on. They’re just kids and life is a nightmare – no wonder these frisky adolescents feel so relatable. 

Sex Education TV series

The acting in this series is exceptionally great for a high school show. Somehow, British youth series tend to have a more skilled cast than their American counterparts and this one’s no different. Former child actor Butterfield shows his maturity as an actor in the role of the socially inept but sensitive Otis. He serves as the heart of the show, the everyman to everyone else’s eclectic crazies.

Sex Education TV series

Mackey is great as Otis’ foil Maeve, a troubled teen who’s in many ways more worldly than him but just as vulnerable inside. But the show’s two scene stealers are Ncuti Gatwa as Otis’ best friend Eric and Connor Swindells (SAS Rogue Heroes) as Adam Groff, school bully turns softie himbo.

Sex Education TV series

Gatwa – who’s about to become the 15th Doctor – capably juggles Eric’s many dimensions: being bullied for being openly gay, facing difficulties finding love due to living in a bigoted small town, struggling with his ethnic heritage – he’s truly been through a lot! Meanwhile, Adam could easily fall into the mean jock stereotype but his transformation – aided by Swindells’ nuanced portrayal – is definitely one of the most compelling arcs of the series. With how good they are, no wonder so many of the show’s young stars quickly get roped into bigger and bigger productions!

Well-written, well-acted and sensitively portrayed, Sex Education is an excellent series that fulfils everything a coming-of-age story needs to be. Catch all three seasons of Sex Education (season 4 is upcoming) on Netflix.

Published on August 20th, 2023. Written by Jennifer Ariesta for Television Heaven.

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