Review: Genera+ion

'Generation' on HBO Max (Image credit: Jennifer Clasen/HBO Max)

HBO Max looks to offer an authentic view of the lives of diverse youth with its new original series, Genera+ion

Executive produced by Lena Durham and created by the father/daughter duo of Ben and Zelda Barnz, the series revolves around a group of high-school students trying to find their identities while fitting in within a conservative town. That reality is shown early in the pilot, when star athlete and popular gay student Chester (Justice Smith) is flagged by the school principal for his third dress-code violation in the first month of school for sporting an eccentric, midriff-cut shirt and tight pants. He’s sent to see a guidance counselor (Nathan Stewart-Jarrett) who seems to connect with Chester, who isn’t as secure in himself or in his surroundings as he appears on the surface.  

Other characters, such as twins Nathan (Uly Schlesinger) and Naomi (Chloe East), unveil the ups and downs of relationships as both hold revealing sexually-themed secrets that threaten but ultimately strengthen their bond. 

Each episode reflects the perspective of one or more students, and at times those perspectives are derived from the same party or school activity, providing a unique view of how each character perceives the same sequence of events. 

Genera+ion, much like other teen-themed series from HBO like Euphoria, doesn’t sugarcoat the experiences of its teen protagonists, but instead gives an often dark but refreshing look at a diverse group of vibrant, troubled, sometimes excessive, social-media driven and ultimately impressive young people. 

HBO Max will stream three episodes of Genera+ion on March 11, two additional episodes on March 18, two episodes on March 25 and one episode on April 1. An additional eight episodes comprising the second half of the season will debut later this year. 

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.