Thirteen years after the release of the film adaption of David Nicholls’ novel One Day, starring Anne Hathaway, Netflix has revisited the same story — this time through a limited series format. The show attempts to introduce a new storytelling structure, but it unfortunately still falls short of being a worthwhile adaptation. 

The audience meets the main characters, Emma and Dexter, on their graduation night at the University of Edinburgh. Each episode takes place on July 15 of the following year after graduation, and we follow the characters as they inevitably grow apart and find their way back to each other several times

Despite the concept seeming like a clever retelling of an old story, Netflix lacked a lot of substance in their episodes. Both the writing and character development were ultimately lackluster

The dialogue felt overly cringey and stereotypical, and it was no different from other mediocre Netflix rom-coms. While the characters were a year older each episode, the show felt incredibly repetitive.

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The fact that the show only tells the story through a single day from each year doesn’t help this lack of substance. The show’s structure means the audience misses so many important life events that unfold for Emma and Dexter. Although we can infer what happened, the emotional depth of actually getting to watch those scenes is gone, and the writing wasn’t engaging enough to make up for this.

One Day also relied too much on character archetypes, such as the rich, player boy and the quick-witted, smart girl. It felt like these stereotypes were used as a way of avoiding meaningful development and relationship building.

Possibly my biggest complaint with this show is the fact that it didn’t bring anything new to the screen. As an audience member, it felt like a waste of my time. 

The original 2011 adaptation of One Day clocked in at just under two hours long, meaning writers and producers had to be incredibly intentional with what they chose to show viewers. 

In this remake, after we’ve spent a few episodes on Emma and Dexter’s independent lives, the audience needs to play catch-up when the pair is on screen together again. This leads to long and sometimes tedious conversations between our main duo

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The series’ first episode served as the introduction to our characters and established the pair’s future significance to one another. It took us through the day they met, as well as them having to part ways with each other. Their connection was compelling at first, but that initial spark dwindled as the show went on.

The length of the show also means writers have to drag out scenes en route to key character development points for Emma and Dexter. It didn’t feel like the story was expanded upon at all, and many of the middle episodes felt like filler.

The two main characters also feel like they stay the exact same, despite the fact that two decades passes between the show’s first and last episodes. Their relationship rarely improved, which led to a constant back and forth.

There were moments that provided further characterization and emotional depth, namely a confrontation between Emma and one of her long-term boyfriends, Dexter coping with his mother’s disease and Emma’s eventual death.

But these deeper scenes sometimes felt out-of-place. The rest of the show didn’t establish the characters well enough to jump into these sad, important character moments. They ultimately weren’t enough to make me care by the end of the show.

While I think One Day could be a fun, dramatic romance to watch, the story gets incredibly lost and overshadowed by the structure and pacing.