Netflix's New Show is a Perfect Valentine's Day Binge-Watch With 90% on Rotten Tomatoes
You'll fall in love with this new adaptation.
- David Nicholls' novel One Day has been made into a Netflix limited series
- The story follows two friends through twenty years of their relationship
- Critics and audiences are swooning over the romantic drama.
Where It All Started
In 2009, David Nicholls published his most famous and beloved novel, One Day. The book was an instant bestseller, and its popularity led to a feature film being released only two years later.
The story begins on July 15, 1988. Dexter and Emma have both just celebrated their graduation from the University of Edinburgh. The two meet at a party and spend the night together, though their personalities and dreams quickly lead them onto different paths. The book traces Emma and Dex's friendship over the next two decades, with every chapter taking place exactly one year later than the chapter before – and always on July 15. With a year between chapters, there's a constant evolution in their ambitions and circumstances, but Emma and Dex can't help being pulled towards each other.
The First Adaptation Was a Disappointment
The 2011 film adaptation of One Day was a disappointment, despite the best efforts of its pitch-perfect cast (Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess, both giving it their charming best). The Rotten Tomatoes critics consensus reads: 'Despite some fresh narrative twists, One Day lacks the emotion, depth, or insight of its bestselling source material'.
Audiences agreed, but perhaps this reaction was inevitable. The book spans two decades of a relationship that undergoes turmoil, jealousy, love, self-doubt, distance, and the changes that life inflicts on us all. Trying to cram two decades worth of change into two hours worth of runtime was always an ambitious idea at best.
A Better Idea
That's why fans were hopeful when a television adaptation of One Day was announced. With fourteen episodes altogether, the series is a position to cover much more of the story than the movie ever could. Instead of entire decades being reduced down to minutes, the series investigates each chapter of the protagonists' lives with thoughtfulness and detail.
It probably helps that author David Nicholls was on the creative team behind the television show. Nicholls was a producer for the Netflix project, and is also credited with writing its penultimate episode.
It also helps that the casting has once again been spot-on. Actors Ambika Mod (Emma) and Leo Woodall (Dexter) have each been praised for their performances, with both actors rising to the challenge of playing characters who evolve from just-graduated university students to adults in their thirties.
What Critics Are Saying
One Day is among the best reviewed shows of the year so far. It's currently rocking a 91% on Rotten Tomatoes, with critics saying:
'It's all perfect. If you've any heart at all, you'll love this to bits.' – Times (UK)
'One Day has found gold in its leading duo, whose chemistry feels timeless and totally captivating. An outstanding showcase of talent.' – Empire Magazine
'One Day is as boundlessly joyous & heartfelt as the book. It taps into romantic tropes and identifies what being in love looks like in practice.' – Screen Rant
'Both Woodall and Ambika Mod do an excellent job of portraying Dexter and Emma through various stages of their lives. The pair's chemistry elevates what could have been a gimmicky drama series to a poignant story about growing up, grief, and love.' – Ready, Steady, Cut
A Quick Warning (No Spoilers!)
Fans of the book and the 2011 film would be quick to warn you that Dexter and Emma's journey is not all laughter and love. The two deal with a lot over the course of their relationship, so if you're looking for Hallmark-style fluff this show probably isn't for you.
One Day is highly recommended – but we also highly recommend that you pack some Kleenex before starting on Emma and Dex's journey.