BBC Three’s uni-drama Clique is an easy to digest but easy to forget drama. While the mystery builds nicely and the relatively short run time keeps the series ticking along at a decent pace, there just isn’t enough here to help the show stand out from others in this genre. The characters are largely stereotypical, lacking unique personas to help them stand out in this glamorous, polished world. While there’s just enough intrigue to see you through to the end and a few well placed twists and surprises are a nice inclusion, Clique is unlikely to be a show you return to in a hurry.
Taking place in the heart of Edinburgh’s university scene, Clique’s story sees childhood friends Georgia (Aisling Franciosi) and Holly (Synnove Karlsen) starting their first semester together. Fuelled on a diet of drink and drugs, the two girls stumble their way into Macro economics, a lecture fronted by feminist Jude (Louise Brealey) who introduces them to Solasta Finance, a company fronted by an elite, mysterious clique of girls. After Georgia joins the group and begins acting erratically, Holly decides to try and save her friend, uncovering a shadowy world of corruption and danger in the process.
From here the rest of the episodes follow a reasonably predictable trajectory as Holly uncovers the truth behind the company and the people pulling the strings. All of this whilst building up to a well written, climactic finale that sees tensions come to a head and Holly pushed to breaking point in the face of overwhelming odds. It does take a while to reach this point though, with the series feeling several episodes too long and the pacing meandering along as the mystery mounts.
All of this would be perfectly fine if the characters weren’t so lackadaisical and forgettable. Every character feels a little too perfect, a little too pristine for this shadowy world, breaking the immersive, dangerous atmosphere the show revels in. The elite clique, in particular, lack any discernible personality traits beyond acting mysterious and despite Holly’s charismatic tenacity, her performance falls flat next to so many other mediocre players in this series.
For a series about teenagers in university it’s worth noting there’s a fair amount of drinking, drugs and sex depicted during the series’ relatively short 6 episode run time. Expect plenty of pill popping, line snorting, drinking and sex as the characters navigate the tumultuous university scene whilst grappling with the ever-present mystery around Solasta Finance.
Although Clique does have its moments and some of the episode late on are pretty intense, the series lacks the cutting edge needed to help it stand out next to other dramas in this genre. The mystery is just strong enough to see you through to the end and Holly’s tenacious attitude and loyalty toward her friend helps you empathise with her but the lack of other defining characters makes it difficult to keep enthused through to the final episode. Stylish and mysterious, Clique is still an enjoyable show but there’s not quite enough here to make it anything other than an entertaining but largely forgettable show.