‘Maxton Hall’ is Prime Video’s biggest hit. Fans credit the chemistry between its stars.

In Entertainment
May 23, 2024

Videoclips of two teens sharing charged eye contact, passionate conversations and near-kisses have flooded social media platforms like TikTok, Instagram Reels and Facebook in recent days. These snippets of Maxton Hall: The World Between Us, the German young adult TV show on Prime Video that is available to watch with English subtitles or dubbed in English, are becoming ubiquitous on social media as the show’s viewership continues to soar across the globe.

Since its May 9 premiere, the German original series, based on the books by Mona Kasten, has already broken streaming records. The series had the largest first week global viewership for an international title in Prime Video history, according to the streamer. On May 17, Prime Video announced it renewed Maxton Hall for a second season.

The series centers around the lives of a group of students at the elite high school Maxton Hall who are vying for spots at Oxford after graduation. When lower-income student Ruby Bell (Harriet Herbig-Matten) discovers a secret about the uber-wealthy Lydia Beaufort (Sonja Weißer), she attracts the unwanted attention of Lydia’s twin, James Beaufort (Damian Hardung). What follows is a slow-burn, enemies-to-lovers romance that takes place in a heightened world of extreme privilege and family drama. Think Gossip Girl meets One Tree Hill.

Twin sisters Eleni Tzougros and Gabriella Tzougros first saw videos of Ruby and James on their social media feeds last week. As fans of teen dramas and romance, the Indianapolis-based twins knew they had to watch it. “I’ve been craving something like this,” Eleni told Yahoo Entertainment.

The timing was also perfect. The 22-year-olds had just finished binging the first four episodes of Bridgerton’s third season. While Maxton Hall was originally their way of buffering as they waited for the rest of Colin and Penelope’s love story to drop in June, the German show quickly exceeded their expectations.

The twins are fans of international TV and think Maxton Hall is a great mix of Netflix’s Spanish teen series Elite and its Swedish teen series Young Royals. Maxton Hall’s version of the enemies-to-lovers trope, chemistry (especially the lingering eye contact) between the leads and evolution of the characters over the six episodes were just what they were looking for in a new show.

Eleni and Gabriella Tzougros are not alone in their fast fandom.

“What I loved the most about Maxton Hall was the chemistry between the two main characters. It had me absolutely giddy the entire time. It felt natural and not forced whatsoever. It set the show apart,” fan Laura Heath told Yahoo Entertainment.

Heath, who is 28 and lives in Alaska, watched the show with her husband after her two kids were asleep and found everything from the raw emotions of the characters to their chemistry and acting completely compelling.

Heath was so invested in the show that finishing it left her in a slump.

“OK, serious question: What am I supposed to do with my life now that I finished the first four episodes of Bridgerton and finished the entire season of Maxton Hall?” she said in a TikTok video that has over 1 million views and counting. “I feel like there is a gaping hole now [that] those two shows left.”

Unlike Heath and the Tzougros twins, Gillian Erin watched Maxton Hall on May 9, just days before the latest season of Bridgerton premiered.

Erin admits that while she doesn’t watch much international TV, the YouTube trailer drew her in.

“I had a really weird feeling that [it] was going to be something big,” she told Yahoo.

When Erin watched the show in its entirety on May 9, it confirmed her inkling that Maxton Hall would be a hit.

“In terms of James and Ruby, their chemistry was insane,” Erin said. “I feel like everyone on the show has really great character development, even the side characters.”

Erin’s reaction video from her first watch has more than 3 million views on TikTok, and it was one of the first videos to build buzz for the show.

The popularity of TikToks like Erin’s and Heath’s also exemplify how fans such as the Tzougros twins make their watch lists.

“I definitely think social media has bridged the gap of international films and TV shows [with American audiences],” Gabriella Tzougros told Yahoo Entertainment.

Streaming has also made international shows like Maxton Hall more accessible.

“Worldwide platforms such as Amazon and Netflix have created greater access to a wider array of culturally diverse programming, making it easier than ever before to sample a TV series or film from another country and/or in a different language,” Brandon Katz, an entertainment industry strategist at Parrot Analytics, which measures demand for film and TV content, told Yahoo Entertainment. “Demand for non-English content in the U.S. has increased by 50% over the past three years in part due to improved dubbing and subtitling as well as greater cultural exchange.”

One of the reasons Gabriella enjoys watching international TV shows, especially YA shows like Maxton Hall, is that “it makes you realize how similar we are to other people regardless of the countries that they’re from,” she said.

“No matter what country we’re in, there’s gonna be drama, there’s gonna be a love interest, there’s gonna be a fun story,” she added. “You can relate to that, even on the other side of the ocean.”

Maxton Hall is streaming on Prime Video

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