The first full trailer for HBO's Euphoria is out at last, and one thing is very clear: this is no regular teen drama. The show, starring Zendaya as a high schooler struggling with drug addiction, looks gritty, complex, and, yes, euphoric, in a way we're not used to seeing shows portray high schoolers.
The trailer opens with something you might see in one of those shows, as a teacher asks students to get on a stage and share a five-minute story about their summer. Some of the characters we glimpse even look like those stereotypical teen characters — a football player, a dancer, a curvy girl in goth clothing. But in the middle of them is Zendaya's Rue, who just looks exhausted by it all.
"At some point you make a choice about who you are and what you want," Rue says in a voiceover, before a montage that shows us that she has been to rehab, but that doesn't exactly mean she's not using drugs anymore. "Suddenly, the whole world goes dark, and nothing else matters but the person standing in front of you."
That person, we might assume, is Jules (Hunter Schafer), a trans girl who is destined to be Rue’s best friend. If this were a slick prime-time show, we might expect this friendship to help Rue out of whatever has propelled her to use. Something tells us that's not where this is headed.
“Obviously, there’s not much in my own experience of being a teen that I could draw on, especially when it comes to struggling with addiction,” Zendaya told Vogue in her cover story this week.
The trailer shows so many characters, it's hard to know who will be important to this story, created by Sam Levinson (Assassination Nation) and based on an Israeli series (it’s also executive produced by Drake, among others). There's Eric Dane's creepy father figure who makes an ominous "kids these days"-type statement. Maude Apatow is in there somewhere. Aforementioned goth girl tries on theatre masks in her bedroom, which looks like fun. Some couples look like they're in love. Some other kids (maybe a sister?) hang out with Rue. It’s a jumble that might make sense eventually, or it might not.
"Every time I feel good, I think it will last forever, but it doesn't," Rue tells someone.
We've got at least eight episodes to chase those ups and downs along with her.
Euphoria debuts on HBO on 16 June and is expected to air on Sky Atlantic in the UK soon after