‘The Dropout’ impresses audiences


Hulu promotional imagery

The Dropout is a Hulu exclusive series based on a true story.

Justin Dobski, Business and Marketing Manager

This year seems to be a season of scams, at least in the entertainment genre. With the hit success of Inventing Anna on Netflix last month and the upcoming WeCrashed on AppleTV+, it seems that streaming services have capitalized on the true crime stories that have marked the 21st century. The Dropout is a Hulu exclusive series that follows a similar premise as the previous shows.

The Dropout tells the true story of the rise and fall of Elizabeth Holmes (Amanda Seyfried) and the health care company Theranos of the early 2000s. Elizabeth Holmes, a biotechnological entrepreneur, was convicted of fraud by lying to investors about the accuracy of her product. She became one of the youngest and wealthiest female self-made billionaires in America before she was convicted of fraud. The show was released on March 3 and consists of a total of eight hour-long episodes, which release weekly on Thursdays.

The first episode of The Dropout starts when Elizabeth Holmes goes on a Stanford Program trip to Beijing where she meets Sunny Balwani (Naveen Andrews), the future COO of Theranos with whom she later forms a romantic relationship. It then follows her period of time at Stanford before she drops out to form the eponymous Theranos. During this introductory episode, the audience learns the basics and foundation of Holmes’s rise and fall without giving away too much of the events to come. The following episodes showcase the events that took place during the time of Theranos, such as their pitch to investors in Switzerland, a deal with Walgreens, and a product test with Pfizer.

The show uses flash-forwards to the trial of Holmes to convey the significance of the scenes that take place and why they contributed to the downfall. Having the show take place in Holmes’s perspective provides more understanding and the audience sympathizes with Holmes to an extent. This is because the audience can see where she came from and the factors that pushed her down the path that led to her fall from grace.

The soundtrack for The Dropout is also fantastic. Since the show takes place in the 2000s and 2010s, the soundtrack uses music that was released during the timeframe of the episode. The music they chose to portray Holmes’s emotional state helps the audience empathize with the stress she carried while trying to keep up with her lies. For example, the use of the song Fireworks by Katy Perry in episode 3 shows Holmes’ desire for success as her company grows rapidly.

As remarkable as The Dropout is, it does have its faults. For example, the show introduced a lot of characters in its beginning episodes alone, and it may be hard to follow who’s who on the show. Luckily the show does include a recap like many dramas at the beginning of its episode so you will still be able to have a general idea of who a significant character is and what their role in the episode. However, this still may turn people off from the show who are not interested in a heavy plot.

I recommend The Dropout to anybody who likes dramas or documentaries on true-crime/scam. The Dropout is rated TV-MA, so it may not be a great choice for younger audiences but it is a great choice for teens or adults who are looking for something interesting and intriguing to watch.