I have to admit it, I went into this series with almost zero expectations. Not being a fan of John Green’s cliché young-adult books and subsequent film adaptations such as The Fault in our Stars (2014), Paper Towns (2015) and the recent Let it Snow (2019), it’s a mystery that I gave Hulu’s Looking for Alaska adaptation a chance. After binge-watching all eight episodes of the teen-drama, helmed by The O.C. creator Josh Schwartz, Looking for Alaska is the John Green adaptation worth sticking around for.
The series starts at night as we see an intense car crash, fading to black as the screen simply reads “Before”. Set in 2005, the scene cuts to teenager Miles Halter, played by upcoming star Charlie Plummer, as he moves to Culver Creek Academy, a boarding school resembling more of a traditional American summer camp. Like all of John Green’s protagonists, Miles’ quirk is his ability to remember famous last words, which is luckily the most pretentious that the mini-series gets. By moving to Culver Creek, he is hoping to find his “Great Perhaps”, the last words of a famous philosopher. After meeting his roommate Chip (Denny Love), aka The Colonel, who ironically nicknames him “Pudge”, Miles is introduced to free spirit Alaska Young (Kristine Froseth), whom he immediately falls for.
Alaska and Miles’ relationship blossoms as she goes on a downward spiral of alcohol abuse and depression over her childhood.
Alongside their friend Takumi (Jay Lee), the gang attempt to avoid high school politics by smoking outside of the school grounds. After Alaska’s roommate and her boyfriend are expelled by the headmaster Mr “The Eagle” Starnes (Timothy Simons), Alaska is accused by the Weekday Warriors, a group of wealthy kids, of reporting them to The Eagle. Promising revenge, the group end up battling it out with the Weekday Warriors in a series of pranks after they throw Miles in the lake and destroy Alaska’s rare book collection. Despite trying to force a relationship between Miles and new Romanian exchange student Lara (Sofia Vassilieva), Alaska and Miles’ relationship blossoms as she goes on a downward spiral of alcohol abuse and depression over her childhood.
After being stuck in production hell since the release of the novel in 2005, with the intention of a film adaptation, it was in 2018 that Hulu were able to pick up the rights to adapt the novel into a mini-series. This is why Looking for Alaska works so much better than previous John Green adaptations, as the characters and the story are able to grow over the course of the series. Offering fresh-faced new talent and a compelling storyline, Looking for Alaska is the young adult adaptation worth waiting for.
Last modified: 26th November 2019