Netflix’s The Rain Review: When YA Meets the Post-Apocalypse


The first season of The Rain, Netflix’s new original series and its first from Denmark mixes post-apocalyptic and YA tropes.

The result is a drama that sometimes feels pulled in too many directions, but that is also thick with atmosphere, tension, and teen angst.

It’s easy to see why Netflix was interested in a series like The Rain. Not only does it combine two genres popular with television audiences today, it also expands the streamer’s international offerings.

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Given Netflix’s recent success with other international science-fiction/fantasy series, like Dark and 3%, The Rain is a natural fit.

The Rain leans heavily on the conventions of the many post-apocalyptic and YA series that have come before it.

On the post-apocalyptic side, these include: moody, overcast visuals that create a sense of foreboding; big mysteries centering around key characters; an evil corporation that may be responsible for ending the world; the use of flashbacks to flesh out characters’ backstories; and a slew of reasons not to trust anyone outside of our main group of survivors.

On the YA side, these include — love triangles (or in The Rain‘s case a quadrangle); Romeo-and-Juliet-style romantic gestures; and loud pop-rock songs backing the action.

Sometimes the combination works well together. The romance between main character Simone (Alba August) and protective soldier Martin (Mikkel Boe Folsgaard) develops slowly and doesn’t distract from other storylines.


But sometimes the dystopian themes and YA tropes make for strange bedfellows. When the survivors celebrate an opportunity to shower to a bouncy pop jam while in the clutches of a creepy cult, it feels dissonant and distracting.

Overall though, the show succeeds in setting up several mysteries and holding the audience’s attention by providing small but relevant clues in each episode. In addition, the characters are sympathetic and generally well-acted. Alba August’s work is especially strong.

As Simone, the older sister of Rasmus (Lucas Lynggaard Tønnesen)—the show’s ostensible key to everything—she does a good job balancing her character’s desire to protect her brother with her resentment of his need to be taken care of.

While The Rain‘s first season finale offers fewer answers to its mysteries than I expected, it also suggests some fascinating places the show could take things in future seasons.

The deadly disease at the heart of the show and its ability to spread by rain plays on current cultural preoccupations with the environment and the spread of new strains of deadly viruses.

The Rain offers a vehicle for exploring these anxieties. While the first season hinted at these themes more than it delved into them, there’s potential for deeper exploration in a second season.

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In the meantime, while it certainly has some eye-roll worthy moments, as well as some big plot holes (how is it possible all the survivors manage to stay dry while traipsing through the woods when they aren’t wearing rain-resistant clothes?), The Rain will keep viewers interested and invested over its eight first season episodes.

Stream The Rain on Netflix. And read our recaps starting with episode 1, “Stay Inside.”