Summer Heat Season 1 review – yet more mediocre teen drama on Netflix

January 21, 2022
Jonathon Wilson 0
Netflix, Streaming Service, TV, TV Reviews
2.5

Summary

Summer Heat is a by-the-numbers teen drama, though much safer than some other offerings — and perhaps blander as a result.

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2.5

Summary

Summer Heat is a by-the-numbers teen drama, though much safer than some other offerings — and perhaps blander as a result.

This review of Summer Heat Season 1 is spoiler-free. 


At this point, I think it’s safe to say we’ve had plenty – perhaps too many? – teen coming-of-age dramas on Netflix. You can’t even judge them by the usual critical standards anymore. Audiences go in expecting certain things, and they get them in whatever the latest package is, and you must figure out what, if anything, is different or valuable about the composition. It makes my job a nightmare. I’d love to say, simply, “It’s everything you’d expect, three out of five stars,” and knock off for lunch, but I have a word count to meet.

Although the tl;dr version of this review is, pretty much, it’s everything you’d expect, two and a half out of five stars. (I’m knocking off half a star for the inconvenience.)

The slightly longer version runs thusly: Summer Heat, an eight-episode Portuguese-language series directed by Isabel Valiante and Caroline Fioratti, is about a group of mismatched kids working at a holiday resort. They’re all from different backgrounds, have myriad personal problems, and must find their way in life by bonding and undergoing the travails of the island hotspot. As is typical, they’ll try to keep their hormones in check and their noses clean as they get embroiled in all manner of interpersonal drama and some light illegality.

So far, so familiar, and really it never becomes less familiar throughout. What’s noteworthy, I’d say, is that the stakes here are comparatively low, even by the usual standards. Summer Heat is so laidback that it starts out rather boring but eventually comes full circle, developing into a quietly touching and thematically worthwhile series about earnestly connecting with people. I’m sure there’s a market for that. But I’m equally sure that it’ll disappoint a good portion of its potential audience.

See, no stakes means no mystery, no drama, no salaciousness. It’s flirty rather than raunchy, introspective rather than intense, and the problems that most of the characters have to grapple with seem truer to real life than to television. It’s a teen drama that actually takes the label seriously, pitching itself at genuine young adults.

It’s definitely too long, though. At eight 45-minute episodes, there’s too much hanging around and doing nothing, especially since the problems that do emerge tend to get solved rather easily and wrapped up in a neat and tidy bow. It does a decent job of balancing its drama between all the characters, of which there are arguably one or two too many, but even with respectable performances bringing these people to life, there’s little to seize your attention here. It’s going through the motions of the genre, secure in the knowledge there’s an audience for it. And there is definitely an audience for it – they just probably deserve a bit better.

You can stream Summer Heat Season 1 exclusively on Netflix.

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