Sensational Netflix Hit One Day Has Viewers Begging For More

Fans of the new Netflix adaptation of David Nicholls’ modern classic are asking – will there be a future for Dex and Emma?

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Emma and Dex lie together on a carpeted floor side by side in Christmas sweaters. Emma holds a book and she and Dex laugh together.

As Netflix’s newest show, One Day, rose to number one on the viewing charts of the streaming service this week, fans of the show swarmed to find out if there would be more episodes of the addictive romance. However, whether the new blockbuster show will have a second season seems easily answered simply by Netflix’s decision to release the adaptation as a limited series.

The tragically romantic story of Dex and Emma is ended cleanly and clearly in this adaptation, just as it was in the book of the same name by David Nicholls and in the 2011 film. However, despite no promise to further Dexter Mayhew and Emma Morley’s beloved storyline, the prior three renditions of their story leave readers and watchers alike with a bouquet of precious romance to reflect on. 

The Third Act

I remember the first time I saw the One Day movie, starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess. I was struck by the tangible aura of lust, adoration, and longing I felt for the characters in their attempts and failures to love one another over the trials of each decade they met. The insight into their lives, through one day of each year over twenty years, felt intimate, like viewing a real couple through the window of their home as they talked and laughed and loved. 

Book cover for One Day showing two large color blocks with yellow running in waves through the orange block.

Emma is everything I ever wanted to be when I was young: a writer who is strong, confident, brilliant, bilingual, beautiful, and loved by a man in a pure, everlasting way. Further, Dex was a dream, a complicated disaster ripe with charm, a man anyone might fall in love with if they were ever given a chance. 

Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess as Em and Dex lay on a beach reading. He leans up against her back looking up as she looks down at him, her hair in long waves and sunglasses on, with a smile on her face.

I was struck by the film, then dumbfounded when I read the book. I cried as mightily knowing the ending of their story as I did when I was finding it out for the first time. The only thing that made it better was the book’s ability to immerse me in detail that a two-hour movie just could not provide. Thus, finding Netflix’s new One Day adaptation while spending the week sick in bed was a delight I couldn’t ignore, which led to a binge-watching of epic proportions and falling in love with the same characters for the third time in my life. 

Improving On The Past

Netflix’s take on One Day is yet another attempt to right the errors of the past regarding book-to-film adaptations. The film format of trying to condense 300-plus pages of author brilliance into two hours rapidly proves to be an antiquated concept. Thankfully, instead of leaving book lovers to suffer the inadequacies of prior adaptations, streaming services seem to be on a mission to right the wrongs of the past and give readers fuller versions of the stories they love most

Dex played by Leo Wooddall sits in a chair in the corner of a dark room, staring towards an unseen window where light shines through.

The new One Day limited series exemplifies how successful that venture can be, largely due to flawless casting that leads to a more comprehensive story arc for each character. Dex, played by The White Lotus’s Leo Wooddall, transcends the multifaceted sex appeal provided by Jim Sturgess (The Way Back) in the original film. Wooddall, along with his seductive smirk and sparkly blue eyes, provides significantly more depth to the character of Dex — from his battles with addiction to his incomparable bond with his mother and his love and dedication to his young daughter  — than Sturgess was ever able to in his tenure as the beloved character. 

Emma played by Ambika Mod smiles up at an unknown figure with her glasses on her head. A bottle of wine and brick wall are behind her.

Similarly, casting Ambika Mod — a British actress born to Indian immigrants — in the role of Emma Morley brought a profundity to the character not reached by Hathaway’s earlier portrayal. Mod is best known for the 2022 AMC mini-series This Is Going to Hurt, but attended acting and comedy school and worked as a stage actress and stand-up comedian before working on screen. Her time as a comedian, in particular, paid off in One Day, due largely to the necessity of Emma’s snarky commentary and expressive face to provide comedic relief to the often grim storylines in the show. Despite her near-perfection in the role of Emma, Mod originally declined to audition for the lead role because she originally read the book when she was just thirteen years old, and it quickly became one of her favorites. The actress stated in an interview with Variety,

I just didn’t see myself as Emma. I just thought it would be a waste of everyone’s time if I taped for this.

Ambika Mod, Variety

Thankfully for viewers and lovers of the book alike, Mod changed her mind and brought to screen the best version of Emma Morley anyone could imagine.

What Comes Next?

Though fans will undeniably be disappointed to hear that there will be no more One Day series to come, they can look forward to the bright futures of the breakout stars from the series. Disney+ announced last year that Ambika Mod will be starring alongside the original Dex, Jim Sturgess, in a show entitled Playdate. Meanwhile, Leo Wooddall will be starring in an Apple TV+ show called Prime Target, produced by Ridley Scott and written by Sherlock alum Steve Thompson. 

Emma stands to the left of Dex while they face each other, his left hand wrapped gently around her neck. They are outside on a clear day, dressed for summer, and look as though they might kiss.

Regardless of whether Dex and Emma are ever to be reincarnated or somehow (miraculously) have their story extended, fans of the book, movie, and show can now rest easy knowing that every adaptation of the story has been explored and will be out there to be loved for decades to come. 

Are you interested in more articles about book-to-screen adaptations? Check out this Bookstr article!

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