I May Destroy You
GenreDrama
Created byMichaela Coel
Written byMichaela Coel
Directed by
Starring
Country of origin
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
Original languages
  • English
  • Italian
No. of series1
No. of episodes12
Production
Executive producers
  • Michaela Coel
  • Phil Clarke
  • Roberto Troni
  • Sam Miller
  • Jo McLellan
Producers
  • Simon Meyers
  • Simon Maloney
Production locations
  • London, England
  • Ostia, Italy
CinematographyAdam Gillham
Editors
  • Christian Sandino-Taylor
  • Lindsey Woodward
  • Mike Phillips
  • Guy Bensley
  • John Dwelly
  • Amy Hounsell
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time28–35 minutes
Production companies
  • Various Artists Limited
  • FALKNA Productions
Distributor
Release
Original network
Picture format1080i (HDTV)
First shown inUnited States[a]
Original release7 June (2020-06-07) –
14 July 2020 (2020-07-14)

I May Destroy You is a British-American drama television series created, written, co-directed, and executive produced by Michaela Coel for BBC One and HBO. The series is set in London with a predominantly Black British cast.[2] Coel stars as Arabella, a young woman who seeks to rebuild her life after being raped. The series premiered on 8 June 2020 on BBC One and on 7 June 2020 on HBO.[3]

Premise

Arabella (Michaela Coel) is a young Twitter-star-turned-novelist who found fame with her debut book Chronicles of a Fed-Up Millennial and is publicly celebrated as a Millennial icon. While struggling to meet a deadline for her second book, she takes a break from work to meet up with friends on a night out in London. The following morning, she struggles to remember what happened to her, but recalls the events of the night with the help of her friends Terry (Weruche Opia) and Kwame (Paapa Essiedu).

Cast and characters

Main

Recurring

Notable guests

Episodes

I May Destroy You, season 1 episodes
No.Title [4]Directed by [4]Written by [4]Original air date [1]US airdate [4]US viewers
(millions)
1"Eyes Eyes Eyes Eyes"Sam MillerMichaela Coel8 June 2020 (2020-06-08)7 June 20200.212[5]
Arabella is on a deadline to finish her second book. She decides to take a break by going for a drink with friends. At some point during the night, she is raped in a bar toilet.
2"Someone Is Lying"Sam MillerMichaela Coel9 June 2020 (2020-06-09)[b]14 June 20200.229[6]
Suffering traumatic memories of the rape, Arabella goes to the police. Meanwhile, Terry has a film audition.
3"Don't Forget the Sea"Sam MillerMichaela Coel15 June 2020 (2020-06-15)[c]22 June 20200.156[7]
A flashback to Ostia, Italy where Arabella and Terry have a wild night out, meeting local man Biagio.
4"That Was Fun"Sam Miller & Michaela CoelMichaela Coel16 June 2020 (2020-06-16)[c]29 June 20200.098[8]
Arabella becomes close with fellow writer Zain. They later have sex and he removes the condom without her knowledge. Meanwhile, Kwame and Damon visit a man from Grindr, and this encounter turns violent after Damon leaves.
5"...It Just Came Up"Sam Miller & Michaela CoelMichaela Coel22 June 2020 (2020-06-22)[d]6 July 20200.108[9]
Arabella exposes Zain's actions at a literary festival. Kwame goes to the police about his attack but is not taken seriously.
6"The Alliance"Sam Miller & Michaela CoelMichaela Coel23 June 2020 (2020-06-23)[d]13 July 20200.128[11]
Arabella attends a support group hosted by Theodora, who was at school with her and Terry. In a flashback to the mid-2000s, Theo accuses classmate Ryan of violent rape, but Arabella and Terry provide evidence to the teachers that her story is not entirely true.[10]
7"Happy Animals"Sam Miller & Michaela CoelMichaela Coel29 June 2020 (2020-06-29)[e]20 July 20200.102[12]
Arabella becomes an influencer for a vegan brand, and hosts a birthday party for Terry. At the party she attempts to matchmake Kwame with another man by locking them in her bedroom. There is tension between Theo and Terry.
8"Line Spectrum Border"Sam Miller & Michaela CoelMichaela Coel30 June 2020 (2020-06-30)[e]27 July 20200.087[13]
After the police close the investigation, Arabella makes a surprise visit to Biagio who refuses to see her. Kwame hooks up with a woman (Nilufer) but it ends badly when he reveals he is gay.
9"Social Media Is a Great Way to Connect"Sam Miller & Michaela CoelMichaela Coel6 July 2020 (2020-07-06)[f]3 August 20200.088[14]
It is Halloween. Arabella's increasing social media presence drives a wedge between her and her friends.
10"The Cause the Cure"Sam Miller & Michaela CoelMichaela Coel7 July 2020 (2020-07-07)[f]10 August 20200.115[15]
Arabella's family meet up for her mum's birthday, prompting memories of her childhood spent between two parental homes. Meanwhile, Kwame meets Tyrone in an attempted hookup, but instead their relationship becomes more romantic.
11"Would You Like to Know the Sex?"Sam Miller & Michaela CoelMichaela Coel13 July 2020 (2020-07-13)[g]17 August 20200.088[17]
Arabella's publishers drop her book as she has still not finished it, so she reaches out to successful author "Della" for advice. However it transpires that Della's book was ghostwritten by Zain, who offers Arabella some writing advice.[16] Terry finally gets an acting part and goes on a date with Kai, a trans man.
12"Ego Death"Sam Miller & Michaela CoelMichaela Coel14 July 2020 (2020-07-14)[g]24 August 20200.121[18]
Arabella imagines multiple ways in which she and Terry could exact revenge on her rapist, but ultimately decides to move on. She uses these thoughts to finally complete her second book, and the episode concludes at her launch party.

Release

The series premiered on 8 June 2020 on BBC One in the United Kingdom.[1] The first episode had already premiered in advance on 7 June 2020 on HBO in the United States.[19]

Production

Coel stated in a lecture at the 2018 Edinburgh Festival Fringe that she had been sexually assaulted while writing Chewing Gum, and that the experience provided inspiration for the series.[20]

Originally titled January 22nd, the series is produced by Coel's production company, FALKNA Productions. It is executive produced by Coel, Phil Clarke, Roberto Troni, and Jo McClellan for BBC One.[21] Coel is also co-director and writer for I May Destroy You. Coel turned down a $1 million (£800,000) offer from Netflix for the show because the deal would have taken full rights ownership away from the creator. Coel subsequently made a deal with the BBC which allowed Coel full creative control and ownership rights of her project and the BBC brought on HBO as a co-producer to help fund the project.[22]

The series was predominantly filmed in the London Borough of Hackney with some scenes filmed in Italy.

School interior and exteriors for the flashback scenes were shot at Acland Burghley School in the London Borough of Camden.

Critical response

I May Destroy You holds an average score of 86 out of 100 based on reviews from 25 critics on review aggregator Metacritic, indicating "universal acclaim".[23] On Rotten Tomatoes, 97% of 72 reviews are positive, with an average score of 8.55/10. The website's critical consensus is, "I May Destroy You is at once brave and delicate, untangling the trauma of sexual assault with dark humor and moments of deep discomfort all held together on the strength of Michaela Coel's undeniable talent."[24]

Writing for The New York Times, critic Mike Hale called the series "touching and quietly hilarious." He praised Coel and the show's willingness to push boundaries.[25] In her review for Time, critic Judy Berman noted the show's unique and complex telling of a story centred on sexual assault after the Me Too movement.[19]

French newspaper Le Monde includes I May Destroy You in its Top 10 of the best 2020 TV shows.[26]

The show featured heavily on year-end lists. Metacritic listed it as the best TV show of the year based on critic top 10 lists, with more than thirty #1 placements.[27]

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
2021
Costume Designers Guild Awards Excellence in Contemporary Television Lynsey Moore (for "Social Media is a Great Way to Connect") Pending [28]
Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Limited Series I May Destroy You Nominated [29]
Best Actress in a Limited Series or Television Movie Michaela Coel Nominated
GLAAD Media Awards Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series I May Destroy You Won [30][31]
Gotham Independent Film Awards Breakthrough Series – Short Form Michaela Coel, Phil Clarke and Roberto Troni Won [32]
Independent Spirit Awards Best New Scripted Series Michaela Coel, Phil Clarke and Roberto Troni Pending [33]
Best Ensemble Cast in a New Scripted Series Michaela Coel, Paapa Essiedu, Weruche Opia and Stephen Wight Won
NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special Michaela Coel Pending [34]
Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series Sam Miller and Michaela Coel (for "Ego Death") Nominated
Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series Michaela Coel (for "Ego Death") Won
Producers Guild of America Awards David L. Wolper Award for Outstanding Producer of Limited Series Television Michaela Coel, Phil Clarke, Roberto Troni, Simon Meyers and Simon Maloney Nominated [35]
RTS Programme Awards Mini-Series I May Destroy You Won [36]
Writer – Drama Michaela Coel Won
Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Limited Series Michaela Coel Nominated [37]

Notes

  1. ^ Episode 1 first aired in the United States on HBO, while episodes 2–12 first aired in the United Kingdom on BBC One.
  2. ^ "Someone Is Lying" was first released on BBC iPlayer on 8 June 2020, ahead of its broadcast on television.
  3. ^ a b "Don't Forget the Sea" and "That Was Fun" were first released on BBC iPlayer on 15 June 2020, ahead of their broadcast on television.
  4. ^ a b "...It Just Came Up" and "The Alliance" were first released on BBC iPlayer on 22 June 2020, ahead of their broadcast on television.
  5. ^ a b "Happy Animals" and "Line Spectrum Border" were first released on BBC iPlayer on 29 June 2020, ahead of their broadcast on television.
  6. ^ a b "Social Media Is a Great Way to Connect" and "The Cause the Cure" were first released on BBC iPlayer on 6 July 2020, ahead of their broadcast on television.
  7. ^ a b "Would You Like to Know the Sex?" and "Ego Death" were first released on BBC iPlayer on 13 July 2020, ahead of their broadcast on television.

References

  1. ^ a b c d "I May Destroy You - new drama by Michaela Coel for BBC One". BBC Media Centre. 11 May 2020. Retrieved 24 October 2020.
  2. ^ Huffington Post https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/i-may-destroy-you-review_uk_5edf4e1bc5b6bd09bd98e540
  3. ^ Obenson, Tambay (26 May 2020). "'I May Destroy You' Trailer: Michaela Coel's New HBO Series Promises to Be Bold and Provocative". IndieWire. Archived from the original on 3 June 2020. Retrieved 8 June 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d "HBO's New Half-Hour Series "I May Destroy You," Executive Produced, Co-Directed, Written by, and Starring Michaela Coel, Debuts Sunday, June 7". The Futon Critic. 21 May 2020. Retrieved 5 June 2020.
  5. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (9 June 2020). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Sunday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 6.7.2020". Showbuzz Daily. Archived from the original on 9 June 2020. Retrieved 9 June 2020.
  6. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (16 June 2020). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Sunday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 6.14.2020". Showbuzz Daily. Archived from the original on 16 June 2020. Retrieved 16 June 2020.
  7. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (23 June 2020). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Monday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 6.22.2020". Showbuzz Daily. Archived from the original on 26 June 2020. Retrieved 24 June 2020.
  8. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (30 June 2020). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Monday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 6.29.2020". Showbuzz Daily. Archived from the original on 2 July 2020. Retrieved 30 June 2020.
  9. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (8 July 2020). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Monday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 7.6.2020". Showbuzz Daily. Archived from the original on 10 July 2020. Retrieved 9 July 2020.
  10. ^ Digital Spy https://decider.com/2020/07/13/i-may-destroy-you-episode-6-theo/
  11. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (14 July 2020). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Monday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 7.13.2020". Showbuzz Daily. Archived from the original on 15 July 2020. Retrieved 15 July 2020.
  12. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (21 July 2020). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Monday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 7.20.2020". Showbuzz Daily. Archived from the original on 21 July 2020. Retrieved 22 July 2020.
  13. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (28 July 2020). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Monday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 7.27.2020". Showbuzz Daily. Archived from the original on 28 July 2020. Retrieved 29 July 2020.
  14. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (4 August 2020). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Monday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 8.3.2020". Showbuzz Daily. Archived from the original on 7 August 2020. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  15. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (11 August 2020). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Monday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 8.10.2020". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved 12 August 2020.
  16. ^ Vulture https://www.vulture.com/article/i-may-destroy-you-season-1-episode-11-recap-would-you-like-to-know-the-sex.html
  17. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (18 August 2020). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Monday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 8.17.2020". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved 18 August 2020.
  18. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (25 August 2020). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Monday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 8.24.2020". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
  19. ^ a b "'I May Destroy' You Is an Explosive Account of Life After Rape". Time. Archived from the original on 24 July 2020. Retrieved 5 June 2020.
  20. ^ White, Peter (22 August 2018). "Michaela Coel Reveals She Was Sexually Assaulted During Writing Of 'Chewing Gum' – Edinburgh MacTaggart". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on 5 June 2020. Retrieved 8 June 2020.
  21. ^ "I May Destroy You". HBO. Archived from the original on 9 June 2020. Retrieved 5 June 2020.
  22. ^ "I May Destroy You's Michaela Coel Rejected Netflix's $1 Million Offer In Favor Of The BBC Because Of Ownership". Forbes. 7 July 2020. Retrieved 13 September 2020.
  23. ^ "I May Destroy You". Metacritic. Archived from the original on 7 June 2020. Retrieved 13 September 2020.
  24. ^ "I May Destroy You: Season 1". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on 2 July 2020. Retrieved 13 September 2020.
  25. ^ Hale, Mike (4 June 2020). "Review: Michaela Coel Is Riveting in 'I May Destroy You'". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on 5 June 2020. Retrieved 5 June 2020.
  26. ^ Audrey Fournier, Thomas Sotinel, « I May Destroy You », « Our Boys », « Laëtitia »… Les meilleures séries 2020 selon les critiques séries du « Monde », Le Monde, 22 December 2020.
  27. ^ "TV critic top 10 lists". Metacritic. Archived from the original on 26 December 2020. Retrieved 29 December 2020.
  28. ^ "Costume Designers Guild Awards Nominations". Deadline.com. Deadline. Retrieved 4 March 2021.
  29. ^ Schneider, Michael (18 January 2021). "'Ozark,' 'The Crown' and Netflix Lead 26th Annual Critics' Choice Awards TV Nominations". Variety. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  30. ^ Ramos, Dino-Ray (28 January 2021). "GLAAD Unveils Nominees For 32nd Annual GLAAD Media Awards; Deadline's New Hollywood Podcast Honored With Special Recognition Award". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on 28 January 2021. Retrieved 2 February 2021.
  31. ^ "Disclosure, Schitt's Creek, Sam Smith, Happiest Season, I May Destroy You, CHIKA, Veneno, Star Trek: Discovery, The Boys in the Band, The Not-Too-Late Show with Elmo among award recipients at the 32nd Annual GLAAD Media Awards". GLAAD. 8 April 2021. Archived from the original on 9 April 2021. Retrieved 9 April 2021.
  32. ^ "Gotham Awards 2020". Gotham Awards. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  33. ^ Lewis, Hilary (26 January 2021). "Film Independent Spirit Awards: 'Never Rarely Sometimes Always,' 'Minari,' 'Ma Rainey's Black Bottom,' 'Nomadland' Top Nominations". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
  34. ^ Del Rosario, Alexandra (2 February 2021). "NAACP Image Awards Nominations: Netflix Tops List With 'Bridgerton', 'Ma Rainey's Black Bottom' & 'Da 5 Bloods'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 3 February 2021.
  35. ^ Pedersen, Erik (8 March 2021). "PGA Awards Nominations: 'Borat', 'Ma Rainey', 'Chicago 7', 'Nomadland', 'Mank' & 'Minari' Among Pics Vying For Marquee Prize". Deadline. Retrieved 8 March 2021.
  36. ^ "Winners of the RTS Programme Awards 2021 announced". Royal Television Society. 16 March 2021.
  37. ^ "Screen Actors Guild 2021: The Complete Nominations List". sagawards.org. 4 February 2021. Retrieved 4 February 2021.