Author John Green provided the source material for Hulu’s Looking for Alaska, a story about a kid going to boarding school, falling in love and dealing with loss. It’s not clear who will be “lost”, but since it looks more like a mini-series than a series, I didn’t predict renewal or cancellation. It likely will be the narrator who is lost, so mini-series makes sense.
Charlie Plummer plays the main character, Miles aka Pudge, and generally speaking, he’s a wallflower to whom nothing ever happens. His father went to a boarding academy (which seems way more like a summer camp), and he wants to go too to experience SOMETHING (not for nothing, he had no friends at his regular school anyway). Plummer is okay, but the character is mostly a blank slate. I haven’t seeen Plummer before, but wide-eyed innocence is fine. In fact, the whole show feels a lot like Almost Famous, same outsider-looking-in vibe.
Except instead of Penny Lane, we have wild child Alaska Young, played by Kristine Froseth. Alone, no family seems to be in the picture back home, drinking, smoking, has some college-age boyfriend somewhere. But Miles is wowed by her. Yet for all the adoration, I didn’t see it. She seemed kind of average to me. There were no huge Penny Lane / bigger than life moments, and while she’s okay, I didn’t really see the wow factor.
Other citizens of the academy include Denny Love as Miles’ roommate, and Jay Lee as the cool kid who knows all the dirt on everyone. They were okay, but I didn’t care about either one until near the end of the episode.
There’s a sub-story about who ratted out two kids who were going to have sex for the first time, and if it wasn’t Alaska ratting them out, I’d be shocked. Everybody assumes it was the new kid (Miles) or his roommate, but that’s just a plot device to ramp up some tension with some other kids. Yawn.
I care not one whit about the show. I am however tempted to consider picking up the book and giving it a go.