My Brilliant Friend: Season 1 (2018)


Season 1
My Brilliant Friend

Critics Consensus

My Brilliant Friend is an expansive epic that gleans rapturous beauty from the most desolate of circumstances, but it is the intimacy between the central duo -- and the remarkable performances that bring them to life -- that audiences will remember most vividly.



Critic Ratings: 55


Audience Score

User Ratings: 305

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Air date: Nov 18, 2018

Series premiere. Author Elena Greco learns of the disappearance of an old friend, Lila Cerrullo, and begins to reflect on the early days of their friendship in 1950s Naples, when they were two very different girls at the top of their class. When the girls discover the underground lair of Don Achille, a criminal figure who controls the neighborhood, they decide to confront him, facing their fears together and laying the cornerstone of a lasting friendship and rivalry.

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Air date: Nov 19, 2018

As fourth grade draws to an end, Elena and Lila fight with their families for the chance to continue their education. Later, a trip out of town becomes a day Elena will never forget, and a death changes things in the neighborhood forever.

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Air date: Nov 25, 2018

Now a teenager, Elena grapples with the onset of puberty, her studies and her friendship with Lila, who now works in her family's shoe-repair store. After a library awards ceremony reveals what Lila has been keeping secret, Elena learns what her friend's grand plans might be. As the girls' encounters with the opposite sex become more frequent, Lila takes a stand against the dangerous Solara brothers.

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Air date: Nov 26, 2018

Entering high school, Elena vows to stay ahead of Lila, academically and romantically. Lila eschews a parade of suitors vying for her affection, choosing instead to focus on her ambitions in the shoe shop. Promising a better future for the neighborhood, Stefano Carracci invites Elena, Lila and their families over for New Year's Eve. Things escalate quickly during a fireworks faceoff with the Solaras, leading Lila to see a new side of her brother Rino .

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Air date: Dec 2, 2018

Elena grows tired of Gino, while Lila rejects two potential suitors, at a cost; a rare outing into the city turns violent; Elena worries about not being there for Lila after accepting an invitation to spend the summer away from the neighborhood and her family.

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Air date: Dec 3, 2018

On the island of Ischia, Elena runs into the Sarratore family, reigniting her childhood crush on Nino, who is at odds with his father, the charming Donato. Back in Naples, Lila's resistance to Marcello's pressing courtship reaches a breaking point. On Elena's 15th birthday, an unexpected encounter leaves her shaken.

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Air date: Dec 9, 2018

In this episode, Elena is back in Naples where she finds that Lila has made a romantic connection with Stefano, despite the looming presence of Marcello.

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Air date: Dec 10, 2018

In the season finale episode, Stefano cuts a business deal with the Solaras against Lila's wishes. Elsewhere, after Elena gets kicked out of a class for voicing her opinion, Nino encourages her to write an article for his magazine about her experience.

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News & Interviews for My Brilliant Friend: Season 1

Critic Reviews for My Brilliant Friend Season 1

All Critics (55) | Top Critics (35)

So many individual pieces are intriguing, and some even prove rewarding over hours of consideration. Still, even the most introspective series doesn't need to be such a slog.

Nov 16, 2018 | Rating: B- | Full Review…

The announcement of a new TV adaptation... led many of Ferrante's fans to question how the miniseries could possibly capture the heart of the books. Miraculously, though, it does.

Nov 16, 2018 | Full Review…

Insightful and clear-eyed, "My Brilliant Friend" takes you there.

Nov 16, 2018 | Full Review…

But if the show underscores the grimness of the novels, the loss of Lenù's first-person narration robs the series of something more important: her voice.

Nov 15, 2018 | Full Review…

My Brilliant Friend is often at its best when it invokes this same crisis of knowledge, of growing up where everyone knows your business and no one can admit the truth. It's about the escape hatch that clever girls squeeze through.

Dec 3, 2018 | Full Review…

This is an exquisite adaptation. This is like the books but better.

Dec 3, 2018 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

The juxtaposition of their hopes and dreams versus the brutal reality of their lives under the rule of their uneducated fathers and male authority in the early episodes gets you rooting so hard for them you think your heart will burst.

Dec 19, 2019 | Full Review…

An ambitious proposal whose start buries, with a tedious rhythm, its magnificent setting and production design. [Full Review in Spanish]

Jul 9, 2019 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

There's nothing on TV to match the show's novelistic immersion in [the character's] inner lives.

Dec 12, 2018 | Full Review…

Brilliant, beautiful, a cut above just about every other recent TV series. On the other hand, you can't help the feeling there's so much you're missing out on by not consuming it in its original format.

Dec 10, 2018 | Full Review…

The actresses perfectly and gracefully embody the two central characters, friends, neighbors and rivals who grow up together in a Neapolitan slum in the 1950s and 1960s.

Dec 7, 2018 | Full Review…

Along these lines, My Brilliant Friend displays an intoxicating mastery of perspective.

Dec 6, 2018 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for My Brilliant Friend: Season 1

  • Jan 05, 2021
    Fantastic. Brilliant. Lovely.
  • Sep 04, 2020
    Brilliant show. The casting was perfect. You believe these characters are real. So absorbing.
  • Jul 16, 2020
    Simply wonderful. Each of the female leads delivers a performance uniquely intoxicating, which is supported by strong performances, all around, tasteful cinematography, and a captivating storyline.
  • May 20, 2020
    Best show on TV. We watched the first season twice. I am learning Italian just so that I can read the books in their original language.
  • May 18, 2020
    I really enjoyed the show. It's fresh and very entertaining. I'm learning Italian and my Professor recommended the series. I'm so glad she did, and I would definitely highly recommend the show to not only people learning Italian but also to everyone.
  • May 07, 2020
    I really loved the portrayal of the town and the community. The relationship between the characters really kept the show alive for me. I don't know if the friendship between the two main ones got to be as ambiguous as it tried to be but, however, it was interesting to see.
  • Apr 27, 2020
    Starts out slow, but has a brilliant development and world building. I became fascinated with the characters and their world. Very good!
  • Apr 23, 2020
    The complexity of the characters and the setting of Naples in the 50s draws you into this show. This season builds the baseline of the larger story that is irresistable and compelling. This season is great but the next season is even better. Watch and enjoy!
  • Apr 22, 2020
    This is one of the best shows I have watched in a long time!
  • Mar 20, 2020
    There's a hint of charm but it's full of one-dimensional characters, melodrama, and questionable acting.

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