Movie Reviews

Freeform’s New Hit Drama Series Cruel Summer

With streaming services taking the attention of most, new cable shows have to stand out. Some avid watchers question the purpose of cable anymore because of these platforms. But Freeform aims to provide a reason with their new series, “Cruel Summer”. Executive producer Jessica Biel helps bring the story of a missing girl report to life. But, the psychological thriller only unravels once the missing girl returns.

She Said, She Said

Cruel Summer' Is 'This Is Us,' But in the Bad Place (And Also Very Fun)
(Courtesy of Pajiba)

Cruel Summer takes place during the summertime between 1993-1995. Within the three-year timeframe, viewers get to see how a wallflower fulfills her social butterfly dreams. But it comes crashing down. The main character Jeanette Turner aspires to be seen. But by ’95, all of America knows her against her will. Town sweetheart Kate Wallis has everything a teen would want— popularity, loving parents, and a boyfriend. But after she’s kidnapped, she learns everything isn’t what it appears to be. Most importantly, these girls’ lives remain intertwined after Kate accuses Jeanette of being involved in her disappearance. But there are three sides to this story— Kate’s, Jeanette’s, and the truth.

Understanding Youth

Cruel Summer' Review: Freeform Drama Tells Haunting Story in 3 Parts -  Variety
(Courtesy of Variety)

Freeform is known to cater to its demographic well. They’ve produced hit shows like “grown-ish”, “The Bold Type”, and “Pretty Little Liars”. But “Cruel Summer” brings a different, darker edge to teen drama. It highlights relationship abuse and insecurities. The show portrays the impact of secrets and lies. Viewers also saw a gay couple hiding their relationship. None of these instances are out of the ordinary. Instead, it appears realistic. Both teens and adults can empathize with the characters. Everyone knows what it’s like to lose a best friend, like Jeanette. Or, have an existential crisis of sorts like Kate. “Cruel Summer” examines the teenage experience and just how far teen angst can push you.

“Cruel Summer” airs on Tuesday’s at 10 pm EST on Freeform and through the Freeform website.

Cover photo credit: Freeform

About author


Brianna Ormond is a senior at Rutgers University as a Journalism and Media Studies major, Political Science and Africana Studies double minor. She enjoys listening to music and binging Netflix in her spare time.
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