Sláinte! Netflix’s Brilliant Derry Girls Returns for Season 2
The hilarious Irish series is back with six all new episodes.
It’s been eight long months since Derry Girls first hit our radar when it landed on Netflix last December. Now, the second season of the hit Channel 4 comedy series is back and we couldn’t be more delighted.
Derry Girls follows the adventures of five teenagers in 1990s Northern Ireland during the Troubles, the ongoing violent conflict between the Protestants and the Catholics. the first season introduced us to overly dramatic writer Erin (Saoirse-Monica Jackson), her oddball cousin Orla (Louisa Harland), anxious Clare (Nicola Coughlan), horndog Michelle (Jamie-Lee O’Donnell) and Michelle’s English cousin James (Dylan Llewellyn), the only boy at their all-girls Catholic school.
The six episode first season introduced us to the gang as they struggled with typical high school issues, including first crushes and coming out, but quickly developed its signature raucous sense of humor as the girls get into escalating scrapes that included pretending to witness a religious miracle and accidentally lighting a fish and chips shop on fire. Their teenage shenanigans are set against the violent political backdrop of the time, which lends a poignancy to the hilarity of the series.
The second season picks up with a school retreat, as gang from Our Lady Immaculate spends a weekend on a bridge-building trip where they mingle with a group of Protestant boys, but the girls are far more interested in hooking up and partying than solving political differences. Lisa McGee, who wrote and created the series, based it off of her own experiences growing up in Northern Ireland in the 90s, which infuses the series with an intimacy and authenticity that never feels false or preachy.
Derry Girls soars thanks to its brilliant writing and spot-on casting, where every character feels lived in and unique. Everyone brings their A-game, but I’m especially fond of the daffy Orla, whose weirdo enthusiasm is endlessly entertaining. She’s a spiritual cousin to another endearingly odd Netflix creation, GLOW‘s Sheila the She Wolf (Gayle Rankin). Even the smaller roles, like the girls’ parents and especially their dry principal Sister Michael (Siobhan McSweeney) deliver instantly relatable performances.
Derry Girls is a classic teen girl coming of age story, a world which has been explored in countless films and series, from My So-Called Life to Booksmart. But this series uniquely captures the heightened emotions of adolescence, the anxieties and the deeply held beliefs and assurances that fall away as we grow older and are exposed to the world. It is deeply, almost embarrassingly relatable no matter where you grew up.
The series also does a terrific job of integrating 90s culture into the show without turning it into a punchline. Nearly every episode is bookended by Cranberries music, and the series explores fun cultural detours like the girls trying to make their way to a Take That concert or the parents struggling to figure out the ending of The Usual Suspects.
The second season of Derry Girls is streaming now on Netflix, and like the first, it’s only six episodes long. It’s an easy binge-watch that is absolutely and endearingly delightful, and I couldn’t recommend it more.
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