Never Have I Ever centres around 15-year-old Devi (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan), a first-generation Indian American teenage girl, who begins the first episode praying that she’s desperate for her arm hair to thin out because it’s “like the floor of a barber shop“, and she wants a hot boyfriend, amongst other wishes.
And like myself, the narrator of this piece – John McEnroe – asks, “You may be asking yourself, why is sports icon John McEnroe narrating this tale?“, but he insists it’ll make sense later… and it does to a degree as you’ll realise.
The story begins in September 2001, a time which the tennis ace confirms is “not a super chill time ot be a brown person in America“. But tragedy strikes soon into the proceedings as her father dies, then Devi became paralysed from the waist down – despite there being no medical reason for it. But there was a reason to be cheerful, as for similarly unexplained reasons, she spotted Paxton (Darren Barnet), the hottest guy in school, who caused her to inadvertently stand up… and now her legs work again!
Diversity is the name of the game, as together with her best friends, Eleanor (Ramona Young) and Fabiola (Lee Rodriguez), she says “We are glamourous women of colour who deserve a sexy high school life”, leading them to both trying to get boyfriends, whilst being jealous of her cousin, Kamala (Richa Moorjani), who’s being forced into an arranged marriage.
Elsewhere, Devi has an endlessly competitive nemesis in Ben Gross (Jaren Lewison), a situation that goes back to the beginning of time.
However, while the two episodes I saw passed time without complaint, I’m not in a rush to go back for more. The closest recent comparison I can think of is Eighth Grade, which was a superb film, but Never Have I Ever doesn’t come close to it.
Never Have I Ever is not available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD, but is on Netflix now.
Episodes 1 and 2 Score: 5/10
Series Directors: Tristram Shapeero, Kabir Akhtar, Linda Mendoza, Anu Valia
Creators: Lang Fisher, Mindy Kaling
Writers: Chris Schleicher, Justin Noble, Akshara Sekar
Devi: Maitreyi Ramakrishnan
Eleanor: Ramona Young
Fabiola: Lee Rodriguez
Paxton: Darren Barnet
Ben Gross: Jaren Lewison
Kamala: Richa Moorjani
Trent Harrison: Benjamin Norris
Mr. Shapiro: Adam Shapiro
Oliver Martinez: Martin Martinez
Eve: Christina Kartchner
Jonah: Dino Petrera
Boris: Markus Jorgensen
Alex: Gilberto Ortiz
Andy: Mark Collier
Bike Guy: Andrew Fromer
Devi (age 6): Royal Patel
Devi (age 10): Siri Hiremath
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.