Review by Sean Boelman
Netflix is constantly attempting to cater to younger audiences with a deluge of content that varies significantly in quality. Thankfully, the service’s new series Freeridge is a great new addition to its teen show library, offering a story with great Latine representation and plenty of heartwarming and hilarious moments to push the series forward.
A spin-off of the popular teen show On My Block, the series follows a group of high school friends who begin to believe they may have unleashed a deadly curse and must set out on an adventure to reverse its effects. Although it’s set in the same world as On My Block, there’s not much of a connection other than the setting — allowing it to have its own separate story.
For the most part, the series is a pretty standard high school comedy. The hijinks that our cast of characters get into is the typical teen melodrama. It’s definitely refreshing to see a series that actually seems to understand teenagers, finding the right balance between exploring themes of sexuality without being exaggeratedly edgy like something like Euphoria.
That being said, the show does get a bit over-the-top with its supernatural mystery. Granted, many viewers will forget about the supernatural midway through the show, as the more compelling aspects of the stories are the human ones. By the time the plot takes its somewhat ludicrous twist, viewers will be so invested in the rest of the story that it won’t matter.
The emotional crux of the series is the relationship between the two sisters, and this dynamic is immensely enjoyable. The creators managed to perfectly capture a believable dynamic of two siblings at each other’s throats, yet thoroughly love each other in the way that only two siblings could.
Of course, at least some of the show’s success must be attributed to the performances of its two leads: Keyla Monterroso Mejia and Bryana Salas. Salas is the perfect level of annoying but charming to work in the role, and Monterroso exudes a level of confidence that allows her character to become the next great teenage heroine.
Admittedly, the supporting characters in the show are nowhere near as interesting as the two leads. Throughout the show, when we cut away to the relationship drama happening amongst the protagonists’ classmates, viewers will wish they were able to go back to the main story. There is also a subplot about the characters’ father that isn’t particularly interesting.
Freeridge is best if you look at it as the cheesy teen melodrama/comedy that it is. Although it may be ridiculous at times, it’s also thoroughly enjoyable and features two of the most charismatic leads in any teen show you will see this year.
Freeridge is now streaming on Netflix. All eight episodes reviewed.