Normal People is an Irish television drama romance series set in modern-day Ireland. It has quickly become one of the most popular shows since its release in 2020. It follows the lives of Marianne Sheridan (played by Daisy-Edgar Jones) and Connell Waldron (Paul Mescal) as they navigate their lives at a small-town Irish high-school before heading to university in Dublin and beyond into adult life.
The show is based on Sally Rooney’s book of the same name, and it was produced by Element Pictures for BBC Three and Hulu. It runs for one season of 12 episodes and has already received widespread critical acclaim. It was shown on BBC One in the UK and RTE One in Ireland from April 2020, as well as being available to stream on Hulu in America.
The show follows the main characters Marianne, a sharp but unpopular girl at an Irish high school, and the popular yet shy Connell as they embark on a love affair. It starts in County Sligo before the pair both move on to university at Trinity College in Dublin. The first few episodes show the pair at school, while the entire 12 span across four or more years of their lives as they go through a number of breakups and relationships with other people.
Both characters are very different, although they have their intelligence in common. When they move to university, the tables are turned somewhat as Marianne becomes more popular and outgoing while Connell, one of the most popular at school, struggles to fit in and make friends.
Cast and characters
The two main characters in Normal People are Marianne Sheridan, the rich girl with a troubled family life, and Connell Waldron. These characters are played by Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal respectively, who have received widespread critical acclaim for their roles. In fact, the show is seen by many as the launching pad for their acting careers.
There is also an extensive list of recurring characters, including Loraine Waldron (Sarah Greene) and Denise Sheridan (Aislin McGuckin) – Connell and Marianne’s mothers.
Other characters include friends and love interests from both school and university.
The vast majority of Normal People was filmed on location in Ireland; either County Sligo or Dublin. There were additional episodes based and filmed in Italy and Sweden. Normal People has received praise for showing rural Ireland to a global audience.
The main town in Normal People is a fictional location called Carricklea, which was filmed around the town of Tubbercurry. Beach shots were filmed at Steerdagh Point on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way. A house in Enniskillen is used for Marianne’s family home and Connell’s family home was filmed in the suburbs of Dublin.
Episodes and reception
The ratings for Normal People have been impressive. For example, Metacritic indicated a score of 84 out of 100, which generally means it received universal acclaim. It also has a rating of 8.6 on IMDb as of July 2020, which ranks it in the top 200 of the best shows across the board on this review site.
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