Sex Education is a Netflix series that has garnered widespread acclaim for its daring, thoughtful exploration of teenage sexuality, relationships, and identity.
Created by Laurie Nunn and set against the backdrop of a British high school with a dash of Americana, the show offers a slice-of-life narrative, touching upon the awkwardness, humour, and angst of teenage years.
Starring Asa Butterfield as the lead, it strikes a perfect balance between comedic escapades and heartfelt drama, making it a must-watch series for anyone interested in a nuanced take on the emotional rollercoaster of adolescence.
What Is Sex Education About?
The plot revolves around an only child called Otis Milburn (Asa Butterfield), an intelligent but sexually repressed teenager who inadvertently becomes his school's unofficial sex therapist.
His qualifications for this unasked-for role stem from his life at home, where his mother, Jean Milburn (Gillian Anderson), is a professional sex therapist.
Realising that all the Moordale students are as clueless about sex and relationships as he feels, Otis teams up with Maeve Wiley (Emma Mackey), a sharp-witted yet emotionally walled-off classmate, to offer sex education and relationship advice for a fee.
Alongside Otis and Maeve, the series features a vibrant cast of supporting characters, each dealing with their own struggles and insecurities.
Eric Effiong (Ncuti Gatwa), Otis's best friend, grapples with his identity as a gay man of African descent in a predominantly white environment. Then there's Adam Groff (Connor Swindells), the son of the school's headmaster, who struggles with dyslexia and his own sexual orientation.
Add in Maeve's best friend Aimee (Aimee Lou Wood), the Untouchables, the sports stars, the kooky outsiders and what you get is a huge mixing bowl of teens who are all battling their own insecurities.
Can Otis help them all or will his newfound therapy skills do more harm than good?
Sex Education Netflix Official Trailer
Is Sex Education Worth Watching?
Sex Education is a brilliantly created, developed and acted piece of tv.
Yes, there are laugh-out-loud moments, but more importantly, it tackles some serious real-world issues that everybody can identify with.
As a result, similar to the Spanish drama Elite, nothing is off-limits. That said, it is not gratuitous for the sake of it. Every episode tackles another weird and wonderful problem.
It handles complex topics with a blend of humour and gravitas, making it both entertaining and educational.
One of the strongest points of Sex Education is its nuanced and diverse portrayal of its characters, both main and supporting.
This includes a variety of sexual orientations, gender identities, and racial and ethnic backgrounds, thus making the show highly inclusive.
The characters develop as the show goes on and it becomes quite clear that everybody, no matter how good you think they have it, is facing their own set of problems.
However, the series is not without its flaws. The pacing can be uneven, with some subplots dragging on longer than necessary. Additionally, the show's mixed aesthetic of British and American high school cultures can sometimes be jarring, confusing the setting and occasionally breaking immersion.
Despite this, Sex Education continued to be a breath of fresh air as it made its way through seasons two and three. Season 4, the final season, will be winging its way to Netflix very soon.
In the meantime, if you have already binged everything the series has to offer, check out our list of shows like Sex Education for more fun drama.
How Many Seasons Of Sex Education?
In total, there are four seasons of Sex Education on Netfix.
The first season focuses on the establishment of Otis and Maeve's sex therapy clinic and the complications arising from their business venture.
Season 2 delves deeper into the characters' personal lives, including Maeve's family issues and Otis's relationship with his mother.
Sex Education season 3 brings resolutions to multiple ongoing storylines, offering new beginnings and closing chapters for key characters.
The fourth and final season follows the students as they head to Cavendish Sixth Form College, a brand new school, due to the closure of Moordale High. The college's student-led body is very new territory for Otis and his friends. Meanwhile, Maeve is living her best life at the prestigious Wallace University in the US.
Where Is Sex Education Filmed?
The initial series was filmed in multiple spots throughout the Wye Valley, spanning both Wales and England. Locations included Llandogo, Tintern, Symonds Yat, Monmouth, and Redbrook.
Moordale Secondary School scenes were shot at the former University of South Wales campus in Caerleon, Newport. The Newport International Sports Village complex served as the setting for swimming pool scenes.
The second series was filmed from May to September 2019 and featured scenes in the Forest of Dean.
While filming the third series in February 2021, the production team visited various locations in Kent. Shorncliffe Military Cemetery in Sandgate and The Hawthorne Trench were used to represent WWI locations in France for the fifth episode.
Otis's house is located at Ross-on-Wye, England with Maeve's Caravan Park filmed at Deepdean, Ashfield also in Ross-on-Wye.
Sex Education Cast Members
Asa Butterfield as Otis Milburn, a socially awkward teenager who gives sex advice to his peers
Gillian Anderson as Jean Milburn, Otis's mother and a well-known sex therapist who is frank about all aspects of sexuality
Ncuti Gatwa (Dr Who) as Eric Effiong, Otis's openly gay best friend, who comes from a religious Ghanaian-Nigerian family
Emma Mackey as Maeve Wiley, an intelligent but troubled teenager who befriends Otis and runs a sex therapy clinic with him
Aimee Lou Wood (Living) as Aimee Gibbs, a former member of the Untouchables who becomes friends with Maeve
Mimi Keene as Ruby Matthews, a popular mean girl and the leader of the school's Untouchables clique
Simone Ashley (Bridgerton) as Olivia Hanan, a member of the Untouchables
Connor Swindells as Adam Groff, the headmaster's son and Eric's bully-turned-love interest
Kedar Williams-Stirling as Jackson Marchetti, the head boy at Moordale Secondary School and a swimming champion
Alistair Petrie as Michael Groff, the headmaster at Moordale Secondary School and Adam's strict father
Tanya Reynolds as Lily Iglehart, an eccentric girl who writes alien erotica
Mikael Persbrandt as Jakob Nyman, a widowed Swedish plumber who develops a relationship with Jean