There’s a lot of praise coming from Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story. Many people, including myself; have applauded the remake for being fun, faithful to the original, and all-around an enjoyable time. One of the major talking points in many outlets’ reviews has been for Mike Faist, who plays Riff in the 2021 version of the classic musical. Like many, this is my first time seeing who this Faist is and like many, I was so impressed that I did what I do best when I discover an actor. Go through their library.

Amazon Prime’s Panic

Faist doesn’t have a lot of on-screen credits. One role is as a perp on Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. Another is as a lead in an Amazon Prime series called Panic. Based on a 2014 book of the same name, it’s a young adult story that was unfortunately canceled after one season. Now, a show like this is definitely made for those in their late teens/early twenties and I didn’t really like “young adult” stuff when I was in that age bracket. However, Panic is a pretty easily digestible show that is worth checking out – even if it’s just for Mike Faist.

Here’s the bare bones of the story: there’s a small town in America and in this town, the new high school graduates have a tradition that they keep from the adults. The game is called Panic and whoever wins Panic wins however much money is collected from the previous year. In the show, the winner has the chance to get $50,000. The games are incredibly dangerous and in some cases deadly. Hence, why they have to do it in secret.

Mike Faist as Dodge Mason

Faist plays Dodge Mason in Panic – Dodge is a mysterious newcomer to the town, who doesn’t join Panic for the prize money. Rather, he’s there for answers and to exact revenge out on whoever is responsible for paralyzing his older sister. Sure, Panic and all its characters teeter on typical young adult tropes and certainly feel predictable at times. It’s essentially everything that a young adult would love to watch and while it’s no Squid Game, it’s something good to put on when you aren’t looking for anything hard-hitting.

As stated before, if you’ve just watched West Side Story and you’re looking for more Faist content, then Panic is the way to go. While the “cool, mysterious, sad boy” trope isn’t new, Faist is still good at it. Despite it almost being a predictable trope, Faist is still good as Dodge. He makes you actually care about his character and want to know more. His very tangible personality and real-life grief makes him a grounded stand-out from the other characters, who [at times] are overexaggerated versions of teenagers, which is probably a result of an adult writing them.

Have you watched Panic? What were your thoughts?

My review of West Side Story can be found here.

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