Sweetbitter made its U.S. debut on Starz last month and expectations were naturally high. The series, based on Stephanie Danler's semi-autobiographical novel of the same name, was adapted by Danler herself and optioned for TV by Brad Pitt's production company Plan B Entertainment in July 2017. Quickly securing an impressive cast in the form of emerging British stars Ella Purnell and Tom Sturridge, as well as UnREAL actress Caitlin Fitzgerald, Sweetbitter hit screens as an authentically millennial tale. So, how do you watch Sweetbitter in the UK?
Set in 2006 — just like its source material — the six-part series follows the adventures of 22-year-old Tess (Purnell), a small town girl who heads to the big city and secures a waitressing gig in one of New York City's most iconic restaurants. It then follows her falling into a bad love affair with the uber-troubled Jake (Sturridge) and the early noughties New York drug scene.
While Sweetbitter may not have a terrestrial UK broadcaster, viewers in the UK can still watch the first series for free, granted they have access to an Amazon Prime account. The streaming service is currently giving subscribers the option of sampling a 7-day free trial with the Starz Play channel, which will grant free access to the entire first season of Sweetbitter, as well as a host of other films and Starz television shows.
While an undoubtedly tempting offer, why should you invest time in Sweetbitter when there's more than enough TV to be getting on with already? Well, for one, Sweetbitter's 2006 setting just about predates the smartphone, which should provide instantaneous relief from those struggling to navigate the Instagram age.
“The show is really about experience, and 2006 is the last time our relationship to experience [isn’t] changed by smartphones,” Danler previously told EATER. “This girl doesn’t move to New York City with 15,000 Instagram followers and an idea of what’s waiting for her. It’s possible for her to get lost. It’s possible for her to be alone — truly alone. And it’s possible for her to discover things in the city.”
Furthermore, as far as female protagonists go, Tess proves a pretty interesting character. Here's Ella Purnell explaining her appeal perfectly to Collider. "You read a lot of scripts and this was the first one that I read where this 22-year-old girl was a woman, who is completely unapologetic for having no idea where she is going or what she wants or who she is. She’s proudly like, 'I’m not perfect and I’m figuring it out.' With a lot of female roles, the character is too perfect or pretty or together or, on the flip side, is ridiculously bad-ass. I loved that this was a really real, natural, grounded script, and I wanted to do it."
So, will there be a second run? With a lot of source material left to cover by series' end, I certainly hope there is. And it looks as though Purnell feels the same.
"I’m so invested in all of these characters and all of these people," she added. "I want to know what happens to Sasha. I want to know what happens to everyone, from Ari to Howard to Becky. I’m so invested with these characters, as well as personally with Tess. I want to see how far we can pull this elastic until it breaks. I want to see what happens with Jake. Do they get together? Do they not? I have just as many questions as you. I have no idea what’s gonna happen. There are just so many things. It’s a never-ending story. Will she make it? Does she like it? Who does she want to be? Will Simone and her reach a happy place? I just don’t know."
All in all, I recommend you grab a free 7-day trial with Starz Play and watch Sweetbitter. At the very least, you'll learn all about the origin of authentic Champagne as well as some serious wine trivia that should see you through the most tedious of dinner parties. Châteauneuf-du-Pape, anyone?
Sweetbitter is available to watch for free via a 7-day free trial with the Starz Play channel offered exclusively to Amazon Prime subscribers