West Ham Is Not a Real Town, But Netflix's New Show 'The Society' Was Filmed in One

If you are wondering if West Ham is a real town, it's not, but 'The Society' was filmed in a U.S. city — plus everything you need to know about the Netflix show.

Anna Quintana - Author

Apr. 27 2020, Updated 11:15 a.m. ET

where is the society filmed
Source: Seacia Pavao/Netflix

If the coming-of-age novel Lord of the Flies was transformed into a CW teen drama, it would be Netflix's latest original series, The Society

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According to the streaming platform, the show — written by Party of Five creator Christopher Keyser — "follows a group of teenagers who are mysteriously transported to a facsimile of their wealthy New England town left without any trace of their parents." Not an island, but you get the picture. 

As expected, things start to go wrong as different groups compete for power and control in West Ham, a fictional town set in Connecticut. 

So, wait where is The Society filmed? 

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the society filmed
Source: Seacia Pavao/Netflix

Technically, West Ham is not a real place but the show was actually filmed in Lancaster, Massachusetts. The filming took place last September and features the town's landmarks such as the Prescott Building. 

"The first scene, which is the beginning of the series, which they filmed (on Monday), the kids go off on a field trip and when they come back the town is empty," Lancaster Town Administrator Orlando Pacheco told The Telegram

He went on to add that the residents were "getting used to it. We’re getting to handle it pretty well." 

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This is also not the first time Lancaster has been chosen to serve as the backdrop of a popular TV series or movies. The city, with a population of roughly 8,000, can be seen in Hulu's Castle Rock, Slender Man (they filmed in the town’s library), and the upcoming Little Women reboot starring Emma Watson, Saoirse Ronan, and Meryl Streep. 

the society cast
Source: Seacia Pavao/Netflix
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Unfortunately, the gazebo that was built by Netflix for the show was taken down following filming as it was deemed not "consistent with the look of the town." 

Start planning your road trip now!

The Society cast: 

Following the disappearance of all the adults from their small town, the remaining teens rally behind Cassandra, played by Rachel Keller, and Allie (Kathryn Newton). 

"There is no civilization here. Not until we start one," Cassandra tells her friends following the incident. It's not long before another group of teens want to take the power away from Cassandra and incite chaos in "New Ham."   

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the society
Source: Seacia Pavao/Netflix

The rebels are led by Campbell (Toby Wallace) and his friends, Harry (Alex Fitzalan) and Will (Jacques Colimon). "We're not going to ask for power," Toby says on the show, "we're going to take it." 

Uh oh. 

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The show also stars a bunch of young talent including Kristine Froseth, Olivia DeJonge, and Alex MacNicoll. 

The Society reviews are in... 

And it's not looking good for the mystery drama web series. 

According to Merrill Bar at Forbes, the series "is still just a little too… standard for its own good." He goes on to compare The Society to The Order, which also didn't get the best reviews — but was still renewed for a Season 2. 

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the society reviews
Source: Seacia Pavao/Netflix

"The Society is fine. It’s typical Netflix," he added. "But typical Netflix is really growing stale these days, and for a series with such a wacky Lord of The Flies premise as this, there really needed to be more of a willingness on the show’s part to ride on the wild side."

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However, not everyone thought the show was "stale." Time Magazine dubbed the show "the next Netflix sensation you won't see coming," and the LA Times compared it to Lost, without the grownups. 

"A concoction of hormonal impulses and moral dilemmas, it can be daffy and even a little dumb, but it has some thematic ambition, a talented cast, eventful episodes and a core mystery that may keep you hanging on through its 10-episode first season, even when you know the answers will be less interesting than the questions," Robert Lloyd wrote. 

He also hinted the show might not be appropriate for viewers under 17, so parents beware. 

The Society drops on Friday, May 10, on Netflix. 

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