Grand Army: Why it’s a hit Netflix series in the making


Hayley Hunter, Contributing Writer

I was skeptical of this new Netflix series called “Grand Army.” I felt after the first couple of minutes of the first episode, the show wasn’t going to be very entertaining as it appeared to give off a “same old, same old” vibe. However, I was proven wrong, as a tragic event that took place along with other complicated situations that these characters go through caught my attention. 

The show displays five different problems and/or stories of the five main characters: Dominique (Odley Jean), Jayson (Maliq Johnson), Leila (Amalia Yoo), Joey (Odessa A’Zion), and Sid (Amir Bageria) that made me feel like I wasn’t just watching people play/act as a character that was just going through the motions. But real people experiencing real, raw everyday issues that teenagers go through.

Not only that, but the show explains the problems that are taking place like sexual assault/ rape, racism, sexuality, etc. It lets the viewer know that if they’re going through the same situations they aren’t alone, that this is what’s going on in people’s lives and these things shouldn’t be overlooked. To add to this, “Grand Army” has melodrama strains that leaves viewer’s emotionally invested into the show.

When I think of a high school setting, it’s usually not the same compared to real life. For example: tv shows set high expectations and give viewers a false expectation and false sense of hope of how high school should be. On top of that, the relatability of the show would then be lost between it and the viewer. However, “Grand Army” doesn’t make it seem unrealistic and it’s how you would expect it to be. 

As intriguing and amusing as “Grand Army” was, the show did have some negatives.

I felt the show was somewhat misleading. At the beginning of the show, it was centered around the terrorist bombing/attack that took place that has everyone nervous, frightened, etc. But as the episodes progress, I notice that every character, with the exception of Sid just kind of acted like it didn’t happen and just continued on. 

I also wished that the show would’ve gone deeper into some of the other characters’ problems that they were facing instead of focusing on the two main problems like the racism from Jayson’s situation, the effect of the bombing/attack on mental health in one of Sid’s problems or the fact that Leila was struggling with her cultural identity that was all briefly discussed. Joey’s story was one that was focused on the most. I like how they focused on her sexual assault and speaking up, and Dominique trying to help with the financial situation in her family by over-exerting herself by doing so much that she has to make some tough decisions down the line. It just felt like the storytelling was lopsided overall. 

Furthermore, the show was fast paced which isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it portrays life as fast paced, but I feel like that’s a downside to the show when it comes to the stories that each character had. There really isn’t enough time in one single season to explain everyone’s problems/ situations. Watchers also don’t really know anything about each main character because it just focuses on whatever they had going on, so it would’ve been nice to have some background information on each character.

At the end of the day, “Grand Army” is definitely worth your time and attention if you are looking for that new show to watch, and if you want something to relate to when it comes to everyday problems that people face and you’re looking for that not so typical drama that you’re used to.