Review by Sean Boelman
The first season of Betty is good but basically a remake of Skate Kitchen, the film that inspired it. These new six episodes are absolutely brilliant television, showing exactly what this series should have been in the first place and managing to be the single best piece of COVID-19 media yet at the same time.
This season continues the story of the group of skater women as they navigate new challenges like love, the world of professional skating, and the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s grounded slice-of-life television, and for those who have already grown to love these characters after their film and first season, it’s a welcome treat to get the opportunity to hang with them again.
Now that the introductions have been finished (again), this season fully utilizes the serialized medium to develop subplots involving the different characters. In fact, Camille’s storyline is perhaps the least interesting of them all this time around, and even that one is thoroughly compelling.
That said, splitting up these characters and giving them each their own stories does come at the expense of the group dynamic. Thankfully, the writing is so good that the series still manages to work despite breaking down the force that initially brought it together. And the conflict that arises between the characters feels entirely natural.
It will come as no surprise to fans that Nina Moran, who plays Kirt, is the absolute highlight of this season. She takes her funny, take-no-shit personality and brings it to a new level this season, adding an endearing touch to it. The rest of the cast is great too, but it is Moran’s moments which have the most lasting impact.
As one would expect, this season continues to absolutely skewer the patriarchy and the sexist ideals that have driven the skater world for so long, and it does so in a way that is often sharply funny and poignant. There is also a deeper exploration in this season of sexuality than before, and it’s a welcome addition.
If this season is missing one thing, it is gorgeous skating shots. Of course, this is probably a limitation of pandemic filming conditions, and so it can be forgiven as a result, and what the team does with what they have available to them is still pretty impressive, even if not to the same level as before.
With this exceptional second season, Betty has cemented itself a place as some of the greatest television on right now. It’s unique, enjoyable, timely, offering everything that a viewer should want from a great half-hour series.
Betty debuts on HBO on June 11 at 11pm ET/PT with new episodes airing subsequent Fridays. All six episodes reviewed.