Review of "Paper Girls": Despite the "Stranger Things" analogies, it's a fun and empowering journey

 Review of "Paper Girls": Despite the "Stranger Things" analogies, it's a fun and empowering journey


This science fiction drama series is a thoughtful adaptation of a comic book that blends nostalgia, time travel, growing pains, and more.

Although it would be simple to draw comparisons between Stephany Folsom's Paper Girls and Stranger Things, doing so would be unfair to the superb, multifaceted series. Paper Girls (October 7, 2015–July 31, 2019), illustrated by Cliff Chiang, is based on the Brian K. Vaughan comic book series and follows the tale of four girls who discover an ongoing time war while delivering papers.

In Stony Stream, a remote Cleveland, Ohio suburb, 12-year-old Erin (Riley Lai Nelet) delivers newspapers for the first time on November 1, 1988. On the way, she encounters Tiffany (Camryn Jones), Mac (Sofia Rosinsky), and KJ, three additional paper girls (Fina Strazza). The personalities of the 12-year-olds are vastly different. While Mac, an Asian-American, strives to claw her way out of her less-than-ideal circumstances, Erin, who is quiet, responsible, and attempting to find her place in a confusing society.

While KJ may appear to have a flawless existence despite her privilege, Tiffany's laser-sharp focus on her future objectives prevents her from living in the moment. Tiffany is also grappling with identity concerns. Eight episodes of stunning fun result from adding time travel and a conflict between supporters of the status quo (the Old Watch) and opponents (the Standard Time Fighters or STF) amid all this drama.

The girls realize their future did not come out exactly as they had planned it when they are transferred from early on the morning of the day after Halloween in 1988 to 2019. In addition, they must escape the Prioress (Adina Porter), an Old Watch soldier, and return to 1988. Thankfully, they have some assistance from Larry (Nate Corddry) from the STF and their more experienced selves.

The show refutes the idea that your future and past selves shouldn't cross paths because doing so would either cause the fabric of time to rip or cause you to go completely insane. According to Larry, the Old Watch proposed the idea to prevent time travel tampering. Grand Father (Jason Mantzoukas), the head of the Old Watch, has strong justifications against interfering with time, nevertheless. It's an added bonus that he uses a mix tape to describe it.

Beautifully performed, Paper Girls is a joyous mash-up of nostalgia, time travel, growing pains, and more. It is produced by Brad Pitt's Plan B Entertainment among others. Then there is the strongest temptation to go back in time and escape death. Going back to the Stranger Things parallel, Paper Girls is so much more than just bicycles, science fiction, adventure, and growing-up kids.

With its sassy, feisty lead characters, the show tap-dances through time and space with heart-pounding thrills, cheery robots, vicious, trained pterodactyls (really), and an awesome soundtrack featuring Cher ('If I Could Turn Back Time,' The Bangles' "Hazy Shade of Winter," Danzig's "Mother," Alice Cooper's "School's Out," and Lou Bega's "Mambo Oh My!

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