Gillian Anderson's New Series Is All About Growing Up — And Masturbation

Sam Taylor/Netflix

Netflix's UK-comedy Sex Education, which debuts on Jan. 11, tells the story of Otis Milburn, the son of a sex therapist who goes into school knowing a lot more than even a teenager in the throes of puberty could ever want to know about the subject. However, he soon realizes he can use that power for good once other students start dealing with their own confusing experiences with dating, hooking up, and coming to terms with their sexuality. With a seemingly endless array of topics to address, new fans of the show may wonder if Sex Education will return for Season 2. While Netflix has yet to announce whether or not Sex Education will be renewed, the show's premise and cast of characters will likely be immediately beloved by fans. And there's certainly more to work with.

In a press release, Laurie Nunn, the creator and showrunner said, “It’s a contemporary British love-letter to the American high-school TV shows that so many of us grew up loving. It takes the familiar tropes of the genre and pushes them into new and current territory, telling a nostalgic coming of age tale from a different perspective.” She added:

The show has been made with teenagers in mind, but also acknowledges that everybody was sixteen once. Whatever stage of life you’re at, we hope you’ll be able to relate to the excruciating, awkward, vulnerability of first-time kisses, conflicts, wanks and loves!

The most immediate comparison that Sex Education draws is the raunchy animated comedy Big Mouth. Like Sex Education, Big Mouth focuses almost entirely on the most embarrassing parts of puberty. The show does so in appropriately cartoony fashion through manifestations of Hormone Monsters and Shame Wizards, with an array of absurd fantasy sequences to communicate its characters sexual fantasies. Sex Education takes a much more realistic approach to the topic, firmly planting itself in the real world and forcing awkward conversations about sex to have the same tone and tenor as they would in real life, both between teens and among teens and grownups.

While Sex Education may be more realistic in all sorts of ways than Big Mouth, the latter show's success proves that there is an audience interested in watching kids deal with growing up.

While Sex Education is close to Big Mouth when it comes to subject matter, aesthetically and story-wise it comes much closer to Netflix's other coming-of-age dramas like Atypical and On My Block, which don't deal as explicitly in sex as Sex Education does, but are both rooted firmly in the real world and try to present an accurate depiction of what growing up is like.

Both of those shows were renewed for second seasons following their debuts, which bodes well for Sex Education. Then again, not all Netflix coming-of-age shows make it to Season 2. The '90s nostalgia-fest that was Everything Sucks! concluded after one season. So, one really never knows with Netflix.

Sex Education stars Gillian Anderson as the sex therapist mother and a whole slew of teen actors. The friendships, crushes, and final cliffhanger in Season 1 beg for another season, so hopefully it gets renewed ASAP.