Girl from Nowhere might occasionally find itself on the outskirts of acceptability, but it has a novel concept that reinvigorates the high school drama.
It isn’t about where you come from – it’s about where you’re going. Nanno (Shisha Amatayakul) might be the titular girl from nowhere, but in this new 12-part Netflix Original series from Thailand, she’s coming to a school like yours. She’s dangerous. And she’s dedicated to exposing the lies, hypocrisies, and the sordid underside of high school life.
In this novel anthological series, Nanno is a familiar character with an unfamiliar advantage. She’s pretty, smart, charming… the usual. But she’s playing life with a cheat code. Unlike most high-schoolers, she isn’t tentatively fumbling her way through adolescence. She already has it figured out. She recognises the Mean Girls-style cliques, the predatory boys, and the sinister abuses of power by a frequently indifferent faculty. She disappears from one school and pops up in another, again and again, but these things remain constant.
It’s Nanno’s willingness to right the universal wrongs of the system that gives Girl from Nowhere a subversive vibe, much more than its occasional tendency to skirt the far line of acceptability in order to make a point. The series takes familiar characters and concepts and gives them a spikier treatment, letting your expectations be met and then exceeded by a heroine who knows more than you do at any given moment. That cleverness and confidence is what situates Girl from Nowhere in highly watchable territory, finding a vengeful catharsis in what would ordinarily be a run-of-the-mill high-school setting.
To offset Nanno’s manipulative successes, the show draws clear moral lines, pitting her against outright villains more often than not, making for guilt-free revenge tales that pass by swiftly and stylishly. Through several standalone stories and a two-part finale, Girl from Nowhere makes the point that wherever nowhere might be, it seems a lot like everywhere else. And sometimes the only way to make the game fair is not to play by the rules.