by Caroline Kepnes
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||4|
|No. of episodes||40|
|Running time||41–60 minutes|
|Original release||September 9, 2018 –|
You is an American psychological thriller television series based on the books by Caroline Kepnes, developed by Greg Berlanti and Sera Gamble, and produced by Berlanti Productions, Alloy Entertainment, and A+E Studios in association with Warner Horizon Television, now Warner Bros. Television.
The first season, which is based on the novel You, premiered on Lifetime in September 2018, and follows Joe Goldberg, a bookstore manager and serial killer who falls in love and develops an extreme obsession. The season stars Penn Badgley, Elizabeth Lail, Luca Padovan, Zach Cherry, and Shay Mitchell. Lifetime announced in July 2018 that You had been renewed for a second season, based on Kepnes' follow-up novel Hidden Bodies. The series later moved to Netflix and the second season was released in December 2019. The season follows Joe as he moves to Los Angeles and falls in love with local heiress Love Quinn. For the second season, Ambyr Childers was upgraded to a series regular, joining newly cast Victoria Pedretti, James Scully, Jenna Ortega, and Carmela Zumbado.
In January 2020, the series was renewed for a third season by Netflix, which was released on October 15, 2021. In the third season, Saffron Burrows was upgraded to a series regular, joining newly cast Travis Van Winkle, Shalita Grant, Tati Gabrielle, and Dylan Arnold. In October 2021, ahead of the third-season premiere, the series was renewed for a fourth season, which was released over two parts on February 9 and March 9, 2023. The season also stars Charlotte Ritchie, Tilly Keeper, Amy-Leigh Hickman, Ed Speleers and Lukas Gage. In March 2023, the series was renewed for a fifth and final season.
The first season follows the story of Joe Goldberg, a bookstore manager in New York, who upon meeting Guinevere Beck, an aspiring writer, becomes infatuated with her. He feeds his toxic obsession using social media and other technology to track her presence and watch her in her house and remove obstacles to their romance including her friends and ex-boyfriend.
In the second season, Joe Goldberg moves from New York to Los Angeles to escape his past and starts over with a new identity to avoid his ex-girlfriend Candace who seeks revenge for burying her alive prior to season 1. When he meets avid chef Love Quinn, Joe begins falling into his old patterns of obsession and violence. As Joe attempts to forge a new love, he strives to make his relationship with Love succeed at all costs to avoid the fate of his past romantic endeavors. Unbeknownst to him, Love has dark secrets herself.
In the third season, Joe and Love are married and raising their newborn son, Henry, in the Californian suburb of Madre Linda. As their relationship dynamic takes a new turn, Joe continues to repeat the cycle of obsession with a burgeoning interest in Natalie, the next door neighbor, and local librarian Marienne. This time, Love ensures that her dream of having the perfect family will not be torn away so easily by Joe's compulsive actions.
In the fourth season, Joe Goldberg, posing as "Johnathan Moore," is now residing in London, working as an English professor at a respected institution, and leading a sedate existence. He has also been following Marienne around Europe in an attempt to locate her. His new life of solitude, however, is disrupted when he begins to bond with a circle of wealthy socialites, who begin to die off one by one as a serial murderer begins to target their elite group. Joe reverts to his old habits when he is pinned with evidence and blackmailed by the killer, who plays mind games with his subconscious. While trying to keep his true identity hidden from the group and working to catch the killer, Joe develops feelings for another woman named Kate, who is similar to Joe.
Main article: List of You characters
|First released||Last released||Network|
|1||10||September 9, 2018||November 11, 2018||Lifetime|
|2||10||December 26, 2019||Netflix|
|3||10||October 15, 2021|
|4||10||5||February 9, 2023|
|5||March 9, 2023|
Main article: You (season 1)
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||U.S. viewers|
|1||1||"Pilot"||Lee Toland Krieger||Greg Berlanti & Sera Gamble||September 9, 2018||0.82|
|2||2||"The Last Nice Guy in New York"||Lee Toland Krieger||Sera Gamble||September 16, 2018||0.77|
|3||3||"Maybe"||Marcos Siega||April Blair||September 23, 2018||0.57|
|4||4||"The Captain"||Vic Mahoney||Michael Foley||September 30, 2018||0.56|
|5||5||"Living with the Enemy"||Marta Cunningham||Neil Reynolds||October 7, 2018||0.57|
|6||6||"Amour Fou"||Marcos Siega||Adria Lang||October 14, 2018||0.71|
|7||7||"Everythingship"||Kellie Cyrus||April Blair & Amanda Zetterström||October 21, 2018||0.62|
|8||8||"You Got Me, Babe"||Erin Feeley||Caroline Kepnes||October 28, 2018||0.49|
|9||9||"Candace"||Martha Mitchell||Kelli Breslin & Michael Foley||November 4, 2018||0.47|
|10||10||"Bluebeard's Castle"||Marcos Siega||Sera Gamble & Neil Reynolds||November 11, 2018||0.53|
Main article: You (season 2)
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original release date|
|11||1||"A Fresh Start"||Kevin Rodney Sullivan||Sera Gamble||December 26, 2019|
|12||2||"Just the Tip"||Silver Tree||Michael Foley||December 26, 2019|
|13||3||"What Are Friends For?"||John Scott||Neil Reynolds||December 26, 2019|
|14||4||"The Good, the Bad, & the Hendy"||DeMane Davis||Justin W. Lo||December 26, 2019|
|15||5||"Have a Good Wellkend, Joe!"||Cherie Nowlan||Amanda Johnson-Zetterström||December 26, 2019|
|16||6||"Farewell, My Bunny"||Meera Menon||Adria Lang||December 26, 2019|
|17||7||"Ex-istential Crisis"||Shannon Kohli||Kelli Breslin||December 26, 2019|
|18||8||"Fear and Loathing in Beverly Hills"||Harry Jierjian||Kara Lee Corthron & Justin W. Lo||December 26, 2019|
|19||9||"P.I. Joe"||Silver Tree||Michael Foley & Mairin Reed||December 26, 2019|
|20||10||"Love, Actually"||Silver Tree||Sera Gamble & Neil Reynolds||December 26, 2019|
Main article: You (season 3)
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original release date|
|21||1||"And They Lived Happily Ever After"||Silver Tree||Sera Gamble & Mairin Reed||October 15, 2021|
|22||2||"So I Married an Axe Murderer"||Silver Tree||Neil Reynolds & Kelli Breslin||October 15, 2021|
|23||3||"Missing White Woman Syndrome"||John Scott||Kara Lee Corthron & Justin W. Lo||October 15, 2021|
|24||4||"Hands Across Madre Linda"||John Scott||Hillary Benefiel & Michael Foley||October 15, 2021|
|25||5||"Into the Woods"||Silver Tree||Mairin Reed & Amanda Johnson-Zetterström||October 15, 2021|
|26||6||"W.O.M.B."||Silver Tree||Kelli Breslin & Kara Lee Corthron||October 15, 2021|
|27||7||"We're All Mad Here"||Pete Chatmon||Justin W. Lo & Amanda Johnson-Zetterström||October 15, 2021|
|28||8||"Swing and a Miss"||Pete Chatmon||AB Chao & Dylan Cohen||October 15, 2021|
|29||9||"Red Flag"||Sasha Alexander||Michael Foley & Hillary Benefiel||October 15, 2021|
|30||10||"What Is Love?"||Silver Tree||Sera Gamble & Neil Reynolds||October 15, 2021|
Main article: You (season 4)
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original release date|
|31||1||"Joe Takes a Holiday"||John Scott||Sera Gamble & Leo Richardson||February 9, 2023|
|32||2||"Portrait of the Artist"||John Scott||Kara Lee Corthron & Neil Reynolds||February 9, 2023|
|33||3||"Eat the Rich"||Shamim Sarif||Justin W. Lo & Mairin Reed||February 9, 2023|
|34||4||"Hampsie"||Harry Jierjian||Michael Foley & Amanda Johnson-Zetterström||February 9, 2023|
|35||5||"The Fox and the Hound"||Harry Jierjian||Hillary Benefiel & Dylan Cohen||February 9, 2023|
|36||6||"Best of Friends"||John Scott||Justin W. Lo & Leo Richardson||March 9, 2023|
|37||7||"Good Man, Cruel World"||Rachel Leiterman||Ab Chao & Neil Reynolds||March 9, 2023|
|38||8||"Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?"||Rachel Leiterman||Kara Lee Corthron & Mairin Reed||March 9, 2023|
|39||9||"She's Not There"||Penn Badgley||Hillary Benefiel & Amanda Johnson-Zetterström||March 9, 2023|
|40||10||"The Death of Jonathan Moore"||Harry Jierjian||Michael Foley & Sera Gamble||March 9, 2023|
In February 2015, it was announced that Greg Berlanti and Sera Gamble would develop a series based on Caroline Kepnes' book You with Berlanti and Gamble as the scriptwriters, and Berlanti as the pilot director. Initially, Berlanti and Gamble pitched the show to Showtime but were unsuccessful in their attempts. In addition, both creators had also originally pitched the series to Netflix but were declined twice, prior to Netflix's head of international non-English originals, Bela Bajaria joining the company in late 2016. Berlanti recounted his experience of pitching the show to Netflix in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, stating that You "felt like more of a binge show". He further added that his team "tried initially to sell it to Netflix at the very beginning and [Netflix's chief content officer] Ted Sarandos has said as much that they wish they'd gotten it the first time".
In January 2017, it was announced that the series had been purchased by Lifetime and put into fast-track development. In April 2017, Lifetime gave You a 10-episode straight-to-series order. On July 26, 2018, ahead of the series premiere, Lifetime announced that the series had been renewed for a second season.
In November 2018, Gamble confirmed that like Hidden Bodies, the sequel novel to You, the setting of the series would move to Los Angeles for the second season. On December 3, 2018, it was confirmed that Lifetime had rescinded its renewal of the series and that Netflix had picked up You ahead of the release of the second season. On January 14, 2020, Netflix renewed the series for a 10-episode third season. On October 13, 2021, ahead of the third-season premiere, Netflix renewed the series for a fourth season. On March 24, 2023, the series was renewed for a fifth and final season.
In March 2019, Berlanti discussed the challenges of finding the right platform for the series in a panel interview. Speaking at the INTV conference, he stated that "we pitched [You] and sold it to Showtime of all places, but…once they read the script, they were really cool about saying, 'You can take it somewhere else'...". After being turned down by the network, he later pitched the show to Lifetime, who "wanted to make it, and we shot it, and because of their launch cycle it sat in the can for a while for two-and-a-half years. Then they finally started to release it, and it didn't do very well." Although, Lifetime reneged on their initial renewal offer for a second season in late 2018, Berlanti recalled that he went to the offices of the network executives to plead them to change their mind, asking "I still think it's going to work, I still think it's going to work – maybe one more episode, maybe if people have a chance to see five more episodes." Later, he was relieved by the news of Netflix's guarantee of committing to a second season after Lifetime canceled the series.
Following Netflix's reportings on the considerable success that You obtained after it was made available to stream on their platform service, Penn Badgley wrote in an email response to The Washington Post that "We're grateful to Lifetime for being the gateway to getting the show made. We wouldn't have been able to make the show without them, as far as I can tell. There is no sense of bewilderment that the show had one reaction while it was on Lifetime and another when it went to Netflix. The difference in viewership is obvious, and it's indicative of so many different things, not the least of which is the way young people consume media."
Penn Badgley was cast as lead character Joe Goldberg in June 2017. Elizabeth Lail's casting as Guinevere Beck was announced in July 2017, as well as Luca Padovan as Joe's neighbor Paco, and Zach Cherry as Ethan, a bookstore clerk who works with Joe. Shay Mitchell was cast as Peach Salinger, Beck's wealthy best friend, in August 2017.
In September 2017, Hari Nef was cast in the recurring role as Blythe, a talented and competitive peer in Beck's MFA program. A few days later it was announced that Daniel Cosgrove had been cast in the recurring role of Ron, a correctional officer. In October 2017, Michael Maize and Ambyr Childers were cast in the recurring roles of Officer Nico and Candace, respectively. It was announced in November 2017 that John Stamos would recur as Dr. Nicky, Beck's therapist.
On January 30, 2019, it was announced that Victoria Pedretti had been cast in the main role of Love Quinn for the second season. Pedretti had originally auditioned for the role of Guinevere Beck prior to the filming of the first season in 2017. Though the part later went to Lail, Pedretti was cast in the following season after the showrunners saw the actress's performance in Netflix's The Haunting of Hill House and the casting directors liked her chemistry with Badgley. On January 31, 2019, James Scully was cast in a main role as Forty Quinn, Love's brother, and Jenna Ortega was also cast in a main role as Ellie Alves.
On February 1, 2019, Deadline Hollywood reported that Ambyr Childers had been promoted to a series regular role, ahead of the premiere of the second season. On February 6, 2019, Adwin Brown was cast in the recurring role of Calvin on the second season. On February 15, 2019, Robin Lord Taylor was cast in the recurring role of Will on the second season. On February 21, 2019, Carmela Zumbado was cast in the series regular role of Delilah Alves on the second season. On March 4, 2019, it was reported that Marielle Scott has been cast in the recurring role of Lucy on the second season. On March 5, 2019, Chris D'Elia was cast in the recurring role of Henderson on the second season. On March 26, 2019, Charlie Barnett was cast in the recurring role of Gabe on the second season. On April 4, 2019, Melanie Field and Magda Apanowicz were cast in recurring roles as Sunrise and Sandy, respectively. On June 4, 2019, Danny Vasquez had been cast in a recurring role. On June 24, 2019, it was confirmed that John Stamos would reprise his role as Dr. Nicky in the second season. On October 17, 2019, Elizabeth Lail confirmed in a Build Series interview that she would reprise her role as Guinevere Beck in a guest appearance on the second season.
In October 2020, Travis Van Winkle and Shalita Grant were cast as series regulars while Scott Speedman was cast in a recurring role for the third season. In November 2020, it was announced that Saffron Burrows was upped to regular status after recurring in the second season. Additionally, Tati Gabrielle and Dylan Arnold were also cast as series regulars for the third season, with Michaela McManus, Shannon Chan-Kent, Ben Mehl, Christopher O'Shea, Christopher Sean, Bryan Safi, Mackenzie Astin, Ayelet Zurer, Jack Fisher, and Mauricio Lara added as recurring cast members. On January 25, 2021, Scott Michael Foster joined the cast in a recurring role for the third season. On April 15, 2021, it was confirmed that John Stamos would not be returning in the third season.
In February 2022, Lukas Gage was cast as a series regular for the fourth season. In March 2022, Charlotte Ritchie was cast as a series regular for the fourth season. In April 2022, Tilly Keeper, Amy Leigh Hickman, and Ed Speleers were cast as new series regulars while Niccy Lin, Aidan Cheng, Stephen Hagan, Ben Wiggins, Eve Austin, Ozioma Whenu, Dario Coates, Sean Pertwee, Brad Alexander, Alison Pargeter, and Adam James joined the cast in recurring roles for the fourth season.
The first season of You was filmed in New York City and filming concluded on December 19, 2017. For the second season, the series relocated its production to California to take advantage of tax incentives provided by the California Film Commission under its "Program 2.0" initiative.
Filming for the second season took place on location in Los Angeles, California, from February 2019 to June 2019.
For the third season, the series was awarded $7.2 million in tax credits by the state of California. Filming for the third season began on November 2, 2020, and was originally scheduled to conclude in April 2021. On December 31, 2020, production of the third season was paused for two weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Filming resumed in February 2021 and ended in April 2021.
Filming on the fourth season officially began on March 21, 2022, in London, and ended on August 27, 2022. The London filming locations included Royal Holloway, South Kensington, Grant's Quay Wharf in Old Billingsgate, Lincoln's Inn Library, Knebworth House and St. Pancras Station. Badgley made his directorial debut with the ninth episode of the season.
Lee Toland Krieger and David Lanzenberg were both credited as the director and cinematographer for the first two episodes, respectively. Since then, the series has had a number of cinematographers and directors. Krieger and Lanzenberg were inspired by the works of cinematographer Darius Khondji in films such as David Fincher's Seven (1995) and Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris (2011).
As part of creating the striking look for the series, they executed various dolly shots and used anamorphic lenses to evoke a level of surrealistic voyeurism, demanding from the viewer their participation in the romantic manifestations of Joe's worldview. Krieger asserted that in order to sell Joe's character to the audience, he needed to craft You with a certain visual look and mood, slightly different, unconventional and accented than the standard color palette and tone for contemporary thrillers. He stated that "I wanted something that felt like a great New York love story, just with a very disturbed protagonist", adding that "The show opens with these luscious slow-motion shots. There's that amber glow. It doesn't feel like a thriller."
For the second season, the setting change from New York to Los Angeles, entailed a distinctive use of saturated hues and colorful warm lighting, in part to contrast and depict an alteration of Joe's perspective of a new city which he had never visited previously. It would also signal a period in which Joe could find an avenue for encountering newer opportunities for a fresh start. In a Variety interview with the lead showrunner, Gamble noted the change, stating that "If you went straight from Season 1 to Season 2, you'll notice the sun-drenched color palette. There's something creamier about the light in L.A. than Season 1."
The official trailer for You was released on April 10, 2018, by Lifetime. You premiered on Lifetime in the United States on September 9, 2018. In May 2018, it was announced that Netflix acquired the exclusive international broadcast rights to You, making it available as an original series on the platform. On December 3, 2018, it was announced that Lifetime had passed on the second season, and that the series would move to Netflix as a global Netflix Original series. The first season became available to stream instantly on Netflix worldwide on December 26, 2018. The first season was released on DVD as a manufacture-on-demand title by Warner Archive Collection on January 14, 2020. On December 5, 2019, a teaser trailer for the second season was released by Netflix. On December 16, 2019, the official trailer for the second season was released. The second season was released on December 26, 2019. The second season was released on DVD on January 26, 2021. As part of a video and letter to its shareholders in April 2021, Netflix's co-chief executive officer and chief content officer, Ted Sarandos confirmed that the third season of You is expected to premiere sometime in the fourth quarter of 2021. On August 30, 2021, Netflix announced that the third season will premiere on October 15, 2021. On September 17, 2021, the official trailer for the third season was released. The fourth season is slated to be split into two parts. The first part of the fourth season premiered on February 9, 2023, and the second part premiered on March 9.
Teasing the original premiere on Lifetime on September 9, 2018, the main cast, Penn Badgley, Elizabeth Lail and Shay Mitchell, as well as the show creator, Sera Gamble, and author of the original book, Caroline Kepnes, sat down with Build Series, a YouTube talk show meant to promote new buzzworthy shows and movies.
Before the show's premiere, Badgley mentioned his disinterest in playing the character of Joe Goldberg in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, saying that "I didn't want to do it — it was too much. I was conflicted with the nature of the role. If this is a love story, what is it saying? It's not an average show; it's a social experiment." However, he was strongly convinced by the script and the social commentary around the series, adding that "what was key in me wanting to jump on board were my conversations with Greg Berlanti and Sera Gamble, the creators, and understanding Joe's humanity. I knew that I would be conflicted about the role from day one till the last day, and that is why they thought I would be good for it, is that I'm not psyched to play somebody of this nature."
Relaying similar thoughts in an interview with GQ, Badgley again raised his concerns of portraying Joe, noting that he was first apprehensive at the role but later, changed his mind, expressing that "no one in any position of authority could ever try to act as though we don't know that sex and murder sells, but how can it work in a different way we've not seen? That's where I think this show does something that none of us could have said for certain that we would nail. It could have been really irresponsible. It could have fallen flat and been like, whoa." In another interview at The Contenders Emmys 2019 panel, Badgley mentioned that his character was "the hero of his own story...every serial killer is" but added that Joe is "ultimately, the word that's coming to mind is un-saveable". The actor highlighted that though, there is an apparent affinity to Joe's character, it is somewhat of a "Rorschach test of a kind for us," adding that "we're failing. . ." In an interview with TheWrap, Badgley was asked about whether his approach to portraying Joe over the course of the second season had shifted from the previous season. Badgley stated in response that playing Joe was still an "isolating" experience, but admitted that he was surprised by "how deep of a metaphor we're working with this guy". Nonetheless, he stressed that the incredible range of responses from audiences that followed from portraying "such a damaged, traumatized person", who is "awful and blind and abusive", allowed for "more meaningful conversations about the themes that the show is working" to be discussed in the public sphere.
Various critics gave praise to the series, by complimenting its eerie tone and terrifying approach to the themes of violence and stalking, reminiscent of contemporary thriller films and series like Dexter, Gone Girl and American Psycho. Certain reviewers highlight that You provides an alluring but, disturbing insight into the mind and profile of a psychopath, who charmingly manipulates his way through his anti-hero charisma, motives and warped sense of morality, in order to convince the audience "to sympathize with a stalker" and "serial killer".
The marketing for the series used the buzz around the #MeToo Movement to gain attention to the start of the show. You has been said to have been "tailor-made for the #MeToo Era." One of the show creators, Sera Gamble, commented on this era by highlighting that in contemporary culture, attention is almost unanimously given to the perspective of the male and his story, so naturally he is positioned through the lens of a hero. She states "We're focused on their story, their triumph, their downfall, their redemption arc ... So I doubt the show will single-handedly change the way we think about dudes and our culture, but I'm happy to be part of the conversation."
You explores the psychodynamic view of erotomania and obsessive love between Joe and his romantic interests. In addition, the series further raises questions on the ethics and potential implications of manipulating circumstances and how the psychology of stalking, murder and violence is best exemplified by Joe's intrusive and insidious actions, to manufacture the constructs of an idealized love relationship. The theme of obsession and violence is significantly expanded upon in the second season with the introduction of the character of Love Quinn. The examination and deconstruction of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl and Cool Girl tropes enabled the writers to express the idea that certain women such as Love harbor internalized misogyny through actions that either minimize or question the lived experiences of female victims in favor of men that they are romantically inclined to. The balance of such an approach in emotional conflict poses an interesting dilemma for the viewer, where sympathy is later garnered for Love's perspective due to her complicated history, underlying motives in manifesting the goal of attaining her idealized soulmate, and the tension between her perceived image against Joe's mental projection of a conceptualized fantasy girl.
As the first season of You is situated in modern-day New York City, it explores the dangers of stalking and social media culture with an emphasis on a lack of digital privacy. The author of the novel, Caroline Kepnes, explained the darkness of You, which deconstructs the romantic-comedy tropes highlighted in many films and shows, by making the protagonist a violent stalker and serial killer, saying it was written in a dark period of her life, the year her father died of cancer, and in which she experienced several other personal challenges. She further stated that her inspiration for the novel grew out of her moving back to LA. She expressed that when she moved, she noticed that "suddenly everyone was following each other and being followed, and I always thought of that as such a negative thing," soon creating Joe in her mind as a very real possibility of what can happen with that type of access into people's lives. After the series premiered, Kepnes mentioned in an interview with Emily Baker from iNews, that she was initially hesitant on labeling Joe, as a few readers argued that his actions, classified him as a serial killer. The author then, clarified her position on the matter, citing that "I remember when I wrote You and someone first referred to Joe as a serial killer. I argued 'he's not a serial killer, he meets these terrible people and has these awful thoughts, but he's very sensitive. It's very strange to realize you have written a serial killer."
Sera Gamble, the showrunner and co-creator of the series, stated in an interview with Collider, that when envisioning Joe, the main protagonist of the series, she wanted to delve deeply into the root cause of the pathology of his behavior that shaped his amoral position to justify and rationalize stalking, kidnapping and killing his victims. When she was writing the character, she stated that "I want to understand what coaxes behavior of this nature out of that very tiny percentage of men. I like to think it's a very tiny percentage of men who would cross a line like the line that Joe Goldberg crosses".
In an interview at The Contenders Emmys 2019 panel, Gamble highlighted the importance of casting the right person to play the role of Joe Goldberg. She stated that "it had to be a love story and a horror movie in every single scene", further adding that if they "cast someone who was sort of creepy, then the story wouldn't work; the idea is that it's a lead in a romantic comedy who works in a bookstore and a woman walks in, they have a cute meet and fall in love and live happily ever after. That's the show." Expanding on her commentary on the show's themes and origin, Gamble stated at The Hollywood Reporter's roundtable interview, that she was not surprised to hear an overwhelming reception to Joe's character amongst online fans and viewers, citing that "There's a very vocal contingent of fans of Caroline Kepnes' book [on which You is based] who were like, "I heart Joe." Essentially what she's done is taken the classic romantic hero and just peeled back the gloss and sheen and John Cusack with the boombox and she followed it to its logical conclusion. I mean, if you turn off the sappy music and turn on a David Fincher score, romantic comedies are stalker movies. The plot of pretty much every one I can think of — and we have watched all of them many times in the writers room — is contingent on the guy ... well, first of all, he has to do a certain amount of fucking up so she can forgive him. And he has to get over some of her shortcomings. I mean, that's love, right? But also, he's chasing her through a fucking airport, chasing her on a freeway, watching her sleep because he feels protective. Romantic comedy behavior in real life is criminal! And that was basically the starting place for the show."
After the series was acquired by Netflix, Gamble noted in several interviews on the changes that would occur in the following season. In an interview with New Musical Express, Gamble highlighted that an exploration of Joe's descent in future storylines will further necessitate a focus on underlying issues that inform his skewed worldview. She later added that "We're interested in exploring the character and we're well aware that what the character is doing is not ok – it's deeply, deeply problematic. So what's interesting to us is: what does he think he's done wrong, what does he think he has to do differently, and to really explore that while still keeping that clinical cold eye on the whole show. And that eye is on a show that's about a guy who kills people." Given the hands off approach that Netflix is known for, Gamble added in an interview with The New York Times that the second season will be different, explaining that "Certain things are changing in the way we are thinking about Season 2 of You. We have a little more flexibility around timing, since we don't have commercial ads, and also we can say the word [expletive] a lot more. As someone who swears a lot, that's a great thing. Netflix lets you give as many [expletive] as you want." In an interview with LadBible, Gamble declared that the team's approach to writing the second season would necessitate a change in the formula, noting that "We knew that it wouldn't be possible to repeat it as the audience is very much onto Joe now and will see through him". Furthermore, she highlighted that the second season will be "gorier and scarier than anything we had in season one."
Due to narrative changes, the second season would necessitate a shift in setting to Los Angeles from the prior season. As a result, Gamble noted in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that the season will have a different feeling, citing that "Los Angeles is full of people who are really trying to live their best life and self-actualize," and that "When you put somebody who needs a lot of healing into a city that advertises itself basically as this Mecca full of cutting-edge healers, the alchemy is a little unexpected for him." She further added, that there will be more deviations in the ongoing story compared to Kepnes' sequel novel Hidden Bodies but stressed that some plot elements will still be adapted in the second season. Speaking in an interview with Vogue, the showrunner explained that the second season, offered an opportunity for the writers to satirize and dig beneath the Hollywood scene, influencer lifestyle and wellness culture that permeates the surface of Los Angeles. Though, Gamble mentioned that it was imperative to balance the pokes at L.A. culture by representing a different side to the city, citing that "I think when you squint at it from far away, it seems like a city that's sprung up around the entertainment business which is technically true to a certain extent, but a lot of the portrayal of LA that people have seen in stuff like Entourage... and what you see in tabloids, where you think it's all famous people running around to their plastic surgeon and in BMWs, and that's actually a very small slice of a city that's this vast patchwork of neighbourhoods. We're all very lucky that Hollywood is here because it's paying our bills... the reach of Hollywood is vast... but people have much fuller, deeper more expansive lives than that, once you're here." In an interview with Boston Herald, Gamble stated that "Joe will always have biting thoughts about other people," further highlighting that "so it's fun to drop him into an environment that gives him a lot of fodder. He had judgments about the crowd in New York, and he also does about the crowd around him in L.A. And since we [the show's creative team] all live in Los Angeles, that's a lot of fun for us. We're really excited to do the other side of the coin."
On January 17, 2019, Netflix announced that the series was on track to be streamed by over 40 million viewers within its first month of release on the streaming platform. On December 13, 2019, Netflix announced over 43 million viewers had completed watching the whole season since its release on the service. On December 30, 2019, Netflix issued a number of official lists, including the Most Popular TV Shows of 2019. The series was among the most viewed in the U.S. market, where You was ranked fifth among series. On January 21, 2020, Netflix announced that the second season had been viewed by over 54 million viewers on its service within its first month of release, referring to viewers who had watched at least 2 minutes of one episode. According to the year-end summary from Nielsen, You was in the group of top ten most-watched original series in the U.S. market between December 30, 2019, through December 27, 2020, where it ranked tenth based on minutes watched, with a 10.96 billion total minutes of streaming.
|1||93% (60 reviews)||74 (29 reviews)|
|2||87% (45 reviews)||74 (17 reviews)|
|3||96% (53 reviews)||77 (13 reviews)|
|4||92% (53 reviews)||73 (20 reviews)|
On the review aggregator website, Rotten Tomatoes, the first season has a 93% approval rating with 60 reviews, with an average rating of 7.10/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "You pairs thrilling drama with trashy fun to create an addictive social media horror story that works its way under the skin – and stays there." Review aggregator Metacritic gave the first season a score of 74 out of 100 based on 29 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
On Rotten Tomatoes, the second season has an 87% approval rating with an average rating of 8.01/10, based on 45 reviews. The website's critical consensus reads, "Penn Badgley's perversely endearing serial stalker keeps looking for love in all the wrong places during a second season that maintains the subversive tension while adding some welcome variations on the series' formula." On Metacritic, the second season has a weighted average score of 74 out of 100, based on 17 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
On Rotten Tomatoes, the third season holds a 96% approval rating with an average rating of 8.00/10 based on 53 reviews. The website's critics consensus reads, "You takes its thrilling saga to the suburbs with superb results, made all the more delicious by Penn Badgley and Victoria Pedretti's committed performances." On Metacritic, the third season has a weighted average score of 77 out of 100, based on 13 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
The fourth season has an approval rating of 92% on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 53 reviews, with an average rating of 7.3/10. The website's critics consensus states, "The hunter becomes prey in You's London-set fourth season, which shows some wear as this premise begins to outlive its believability—but Penn Badgley's sardonic performance continues to paper over most lapses in logic." On Metacritic, the fourth season received a score of 73 based on reviews from 20 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
You gained a dedicated following soon after its release on Netflix. Once the first season became available to stream worldwide on Netflix, the series' popularity increased dramatically with an estimated 40 million people having viewed it, in its first month on the streaming platform, dwarfing its viewership from Lifetime. The series later became the subject of numerous online discussions and debates surrounding the romanticization of the serial killer and stalker protagonist in question. According to many reporters and critics, concerns were expressed regarding the viewers who have positively identified and connected with Penn Badgley's character on multiple social media platforms, despite the transgressive acts that the protagonist displayed and committed over the course of the season. Among the viewers who took an affinity to Joe was Stranger Things actress Millie Bobby Brown. Brown took to social media, sharing her initial thoughts in a video by downplaying Joe's questionable acts, but subsequently, changed her position on the matter after watching the entirety of the first season.
After Badgley received tweets from various fans and viewers of the series about how the series seemingly glorified Joe's violent behaviors, the actor responded with tongue-in-cheek replies on Twitter and Instagram and noted the importance of not romanticizing the actions of a psychopathic murderer. In response to the growing concerns of viewers romanticizing Joe's vicious behaviors, Elizabeth Lail conveyed her thoughts surrounding the conversation in an interview with Image. Lail expressed she initially had concerns about the audience's reactions but explained that "I think we are programmed that way. Myself included. With all the rom-coms and fairy tales we've read, we're programmed to root for the hero at any cost, unfortunately. And so, my hope is that these women notice that inside themselves; and ask themselves, 'oh gosh, why do I love this terrible man?' I hope they recognize it as an unconscious bias (that's inside most of us), and actively work against it."
Victoria Pedretti, the lead actress of the second season, responded in a commentary to the audience's strong alignment to Joe's perspective. In an interview with Variety, Pedretti stated that, though she is aware of the phenomenon behind the reactions and concerns after the series gained a remarkable following, it is fueling the conversation, citing that it "talks about the kind of horrors of being a young person on the internet today. [. . .] I think it's a really smart way to discuss this trope that we've romanticized so much — this idea of this man that Penn plays. We know these people, and they're really hard to pluck out because they see themselves, and we see them, as the nice guys."
|2019||MTV Movie & TV Awards||Best Villain||Penn Badgley||Nominated|
|Saturn Awards||Best Streaming Horror & Thriller Series||You||Nominated|||
|Best Actor in a Streaming Presentation||Penn Badgley||Nominated|
|Best Actress in a Streaming Presentation||Elizabeth Lail||Nominated|
|2020||Artios Awards||Television Pilot & First Season – Drama||David H. Rapaport, Lyndsey Baldasare, Beth Bowling, and Kim Miscia||Nominated|||
|2022||Hollywood Critics Association TV Awards||Best Actor in a Streaming Series, Drama||Penn Badgley||Nominated|||
|Best Actress in a Streaming Series, Drama||Victoria Pedretti||Nominated|
|MTV Movie & TV Awards||Best Villain||Nominated|||