IANOWT eventually focuses on Syd's quest to figure out what's up with her powers, assisted by her dorky neighbor Stanley (Oleff), and in doing so, offers a vehicle for an endearing, honest look at grief and teen angst at large. Lillis is as relatable as a John Hughes ingenue, and you feel for her whether her screams are knocking down trees or she's tentatively going into the basement where her dad died. Like The End of the F***ing World, the show niftily employs a nostalgic soundtrack and a subdued aesthetic to drive the action, but the simplicity of what it tracks back to makes the show its own. Plus, the first season ends in a ridiculously surprising way.
Angsty teens in 2020 don't know how good they have it. I mean, not really -- it sucks to be a moody high schooler -- but they are lucky to have so many nuanced, relatable series at their disposal. Yes, some of these shows are merely re-inventing the X-Men or trot out the trope of tweens with out-of-this-world abilities, I'm jealous they have something like IANOWT. It's less about what her mind can do and rather what's going on in there. The real power is seeing how she navigates the anger that she and so many kids have but can't put into words, and that alone makes the brief series a must-binge.