“One of Us Is Lying” TV adaptation


Avery Owens

Peacock TV recently released their television adaptation of the 2017 novel, “One of Us Is Lying.” Over the past month, the show has received overall a positive reception from both critiques and audiences.

Gaby Jones, Staffer

This does not contain spoilers. 

In 2017, Katherine M. McManus’ debut novel, “One of Us Is Lying” was published and immediately became popular among young adult audiences, so much so, that it quickly attracted the attention of many television networks. In 2019, the rights to the novel were sold to NBC and their (at the time) yet to be released streaming service, Peacock TV, began preproduction and casting. 

Two years later, the “One of Us Is Lying” TV series premiered their first three episodes on Oct. 7 for free on Peacock TV.  

Both the novel and TV series center around four students who are all being investigated for the murder of their classmate, Simon (Mark Mckenna), after he mysteriously dies while the five of them were in detention. It follows Addy (Annalisa Cochrane), Cooper (Chibuikem Uche), Bronwyn (Marianly Tejada) and Nate (Cooper van Grootel) whom all have wildly different personalities and secrets that could seemingly link the murder to any of them individually, as well as together. 

When I first got wind of a potential series happening for the book a few years prior, I was excited, but also minorly weary of how some of the largest concepts in the book would be portrayed.  

Although having read the book around four years ago, I came into this new series with little remembrance of the intricacies of the novel, and little expectations of the show itself. 

Starting off with the casting, most of the performances ring true to the characters and Simon is played just as insufferably as one may remember from reading the novel. Even so, one thing that is fairly noticeable upon my first watch is how old some of the main cast looks on screen, a common characteristic of teen dramas that can sometimes be distracting. 

Physically, there are deliberate differences that do not alter the story in any way, rather, they enhance the ensemble. One in particular that many fans seemed to be displeased with, but did not bother me, was Nate’s character having blond hair instead of the dark hair he was written with. However, it seemed to be intentional in order for Simon’s character, who also has dark hair, to have a visual opposite.  

The eight approximately 48-minute episodes do the characters justice in setting up backgrounds, establishing relationships and motives while also interweaving Simon’s revealing gossip blog posts in an intentional way: the posts carry weight but are not the complete driving force behind the drama in the series. The “Gossip Girl” reboot lacks in this criterion.  

However, similarly to “Gossip Girl,” I did enjoy many of the music choices within “One of Us Is Lying” and in some scenes, it felt like the music helped guide the audience to the attitude and tone of a character or episode. 

Although it does embrace technology in a mostly acceptable and purposeful way, there are a few areas where it lacks. Even though it has only been around for a few years, the references to influencer culture felt very dated and unnecessary. 

As well as that, the discussion around cliches and cliques felt ironically weak and thinly veiled, but with time they should be able to flesh those ideas out with a potential renewal. 

 The overall show is a compelling, yet grounded mystery that leaves on a cliffhanger, so I am hoping to see it get renewed so more of the internal character relationships can be explored. 

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