Penn Badgley continues as soulful stalker Joe, now in L.A.
It may be switching coasts and distribution avenues, but the inherent creepiness of “You” remains.
After Lifetime showed the first season of the drama series based on Caroline Kepnes’ bestseller, it gained an added audience via Netflix … the home of the show’s Season 2, which starts streaming all episodes Thursday, Dec. 26. Penn Badgley (“Gossip Girl”) returns as Joe Goldberg, the intensely soulful and dangerous New York bookstore manager who relocates to Los Angeles in the aftermath of his obsessive courtship of grad student Beck (Elizabeth Lail, who reappears during the new season). Joe finds a new interest in would-be chef Love Quinn (Victoria Pedretti), but he also has his ex-girlfriend Candace (Ambyr Childers) to deal with.
The sophomore round of ”You” is based largely on Kepnes’ novel “Hidden Bodies,” and executive producer and writer Sera Gamble – who developed the series with television uber-producer Greg Berlanti, overseer of The CW’s DC Comics-based superhero shows – likes the word “reboot” to describe the show’s new season.
“Season 1 taught the audience a lot about Joe’s ways,” reasons “Supernatural” alum Gamble, “and they’d be a lot harder to fool the second time around. We decided the challenge of the first episode of Season 2 was to get deeply inside his point of view and prove to the audience that, even though you know what kind of guy he can be, he still has the capacity to tell you something and you’ll believe it. But you have to stay on your toes.”
Moving the setting is essential to resetting the show, Gamble believes. “Joe will always have biting thoughts about other people,” she notes, “so it’s fun to drop him into an environment that gives him a lot of fodder. He had judgments about the crowd in New York, and he also does about the crowd around him in L.A. And since we (the show’s creative team) all live in Los Angeles, that’s a lot of fun for us. We’re really excited to do the other side of the coin.”
Since playing the frequently deceptive and sometimes lethal Joe takes a certain tone, Gamble reports that she and series star Badgley keep their lines of communication very open.
“Penn and I often talk about how there’s this very strict code that Joe Goldberg lives by. It’s really important to both of us, as we craft this character, that he not just fall into generic kinds of ‘killer guy’ tropes. We always try to bear in mind why we’re telling this story, and the stuff that this character does feels like it comes out of necessity, but also out of integrity. That’s the story that Joe is telling himself, anyway.”