Beef Season 1 Review – A24’s magic mantra spits out another must-watch gem

Season 1

Episode Guide

Episode 1 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 2 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 3 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 4 -| Review Score – 4.5/5
Episode 5 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 6 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 7 -| Review Score – 4.5/5
Episode 8 -| Review Score – 4.5/5
Episode 9 -| Review Score – 5/5
Episode 10 -| Review Score – 5/5


A24 is the most influential distribution/production house in the world right now. Most A24 projects are characterized by a distinct visual style and flavour to the narration. “You know it when you see it” is something that applies to everything A24 production. Whether it be Moonlight or Everything, Everywhere All At Once, across the Ex Machina or Hereditary, it has singlehandedly managed to inject some much needed creativity into the industry.

Their platform hosts brilliant minds from the creative realm of filmmaking who tackle, at the core of their projects, the indomitable and puzzling nuances of the human condition. Beef, on Netflix, jogs on a similar track, although its route to the destination is marred with uncomfortable truths.

The creative minds behind Beef weaponize trauma and rage in two broken individuals to fuel the narrative juxtaposition of their portraits. The irony in how Daniel Cho (Steven Yeun) and Amy Lau (Ali Wong) behave is the proverbial whip that is used to channel their intense energy. It all starts with Danny and Amy caught up in an innocuous road rage incident. Seeing them engage malevolently and without accountability deceives the viewer into thinking about who they really are. A honk, a moment of hesitance, and a middle finger intertwine their fates from episode 1 and “take them down” to episode 10.

Beef’s tragedy lies at the centre of its conception. Lee Sung Jin’s epic creation is crafted around the characters of Danny and Amy. However, the banal nature of that choice is negated with an organic narrative that assumes shape amidst a myriad of ironies and uncertainties. And that is why the bizarre plot twists and turns do not seem fabricated or an aberration relative to Beef. The significance of a small road rage incident turning into a life-changing event for Danny and Amy is not contrived.

Other than Amy and Danny, Beef has many characters, each of which placed on the social spectrum. They are very well-written characters representing different ideas and the voice of the writers. These guys depict part of the social commentary on the modern world and how it makes us feel inadequate in our own unique way. George, Fumi, Mia, Isaac, Naomi, Jordana, and Paul are all given a meaningful role to play in Beef. They have pivotal roles in the storytelling also but the presence of the former is what ends up making the difference. These diverse identities and their struggles and insecurities are not buried under the weight of the central themes.

In fact, these smaller themes are complementary in their nature. All of them are settled in the complicated ocean of the human condition, something no one has been able to quite figure out.

Beef stands out. It is a sharp critique of the modernist feminist movement as well as an appraisal of its outcome. It is a celebration of cultures as well as a denigration of their hardened outcomes. It is the emasculation of masculinity as well as a glorification of their sacrificial tendency. It is a humbling representation of cosmic justice as well as the endless possibilities of cosmic interventions. Beef’s cinematic universe has a rich subtext of these ideas and even then, they are not a sum of the parts. These conflicts co-exist without subverting each other.

One cannot get past the phenomenal work of Steven Yeun and Ali Wong. These two breathe life into their characters and give immensely nuanced insight into Danny and Amy’s psychological complexities. They decorate the duo with rage, trauma, and the infallibility of their perceptions about each other. Wong has several moments of sheer brilliance outside the final episode that deserve credit. She balances the fiery and pregnable parts of Amy so well that you are convinced of her emotions in each moment.

Yeun has a relatively sedate job by comparison. It is due to their respective positions seen through the prisms of society rather an individuality. On the latter level, both Yeun and Wong eke out the very last remnants in their range of expressions.

Beef is arguably the best television series of 2023. It brings an exciting creative mind in the form of Lee Jin, who will be closely watched from now on. Beef encapsulates the viciousness and vulnerability of the modern world, all through the timeless paradigms of the human condition.

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  • Verdict - 9.5/10

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