The brochure for Peregrine Island promises an absolute paradise. "Spend one summer on Peregrine Island and make memories that will stay with you forever."
At the start of The A-List, a BBC show that dropped on Netflix on August 30, the campers shuffle off the boat with hopeful expectations.
Are your internal alarms blaring yet? They should be. It doesn't take long before the idyllic summer camp turns into a nightmare. Seriously, what is up with Amber (Ellie Duckles), the completely sinister queen bee?
The 13-episode supernatural teen drama is written by Dan Berlinka and Nina Metivier, both veterans of character-driven shows. Berlinka wrote for Hollyoaks and Metivier for season 11 of Doctor Who.
In an interview with Den of Geek, Berlinka called the show a mix of Mean Girls meets Lost. "We reference Mean Girls constantly. We have a lot of history with grafting genres onto very everyday teen stories, putting realistic characters in genre settings. We like to write characters who are living in a world where these other shows exist. They’re very self-aware," Berlinka said.
While The A-List contains supernatural elements, its horror is rooted in a power struggle between two strong women. Beautiful and tough, Mia (Lisa Ambalavanar) arrives at camp assuming she'll be the popular one. Then, Amber arrives, radiating a magnetic power. To everyone but Mia, Amber is perfectly nice. Mia is the first to get a glimpse of Amber's dark side.
It's difficult to think of another a character as psychologically manipulative as Amber since Tom Ripley; she is thrilling.
Mia and Amber aren't the only campers on the island, naturally. Every species of high-schooler is represented in The A-List. Both warring girls have their sights on Dev (Jacob Dudman), a Ross Butler lookalike who's used to being well-liked, but not necessarily fought over. Kayleigh (Savannah Baker), a quintessential follower, shuttles between Mia and Amber, depending on who's more popular.
Compared to Kayleigh, the acerbic and genderqueer Alex (Rosie Dwyer) is very much above all the drama. We especially root for Harry (Benjamin Nugent), the adorable Scottish boy away from home for the first time and quite nervous about it.
Almost all the extracurriculars are also represented. There are the jocks, because there are always the jocks, Brendan (Micheal Ward) and Zac (Jack Kane). Jenna (Eleanor Bennett) is the camp's drama nerd. Petal (Georgina Sadler) is the kind of person who would bring tarot cards to summer camp.
Supposedly watching over the brood are Mags (Nneka Okoye) and Dave (Cian Barry), the camp counselors who may have secrets of their own.
Finally, because we know you're wondering, the gorgeous show was filmed in remote locations in the Scottish Highlands. Plan your next vacation appropriately.