Review: Paper Girls

I had read only the first trade collection/graphic novel of the Paper Girls series several years ago. For a few reasons, mainly the simple process of life, I did not continue the comic series, but recall thoroughly enjoying it. I imagined I would, in time, return to the story to continue and finish it. Accordingly, I was cautiously intrigued when Amazon announced that it would be adapting the comic books into a live action television series for its Prime streaming site. Adaptations of comic book properties, especially live action ones, are always a toss up for a multitude of reasons. Thus, I approached the new show with, admittedly, lower expectations and some apprehension. Thankfully, I was wrong to do so as the show more than lived up to its premise and predecessor.

The basic story is a group of young girls in the late 1980s deliver the papers (yes this was an actual job kids used to do) to their local community. They are basically strangers to each other and come from very different backgrounds and situations. They are essentially that stereotypical gang of children in 80s films a la Goonies, IT, etc. but all girls. Of course, like with a lot of the properties this is emanating and referencing, the basic story is complicated by outside forces; in this case, time travel. The set of four girls is transported through time into the future and inadvertently forced into a war not their own. As the young women discover and decipher the events going on around them, they begin to learn more about themselves, their futures, and the real actors of the time war they are not a reluctant part of.

The show, like the comics, has several underlying themes of self discovery, personal relationships, the unforeseen consequences of choices and actions made and not made, and the costs and realities of the divide between the past, the present, and the future and the people involved and embodying those different times and realities. The biggest compliment I can give this show is that it makes me want to see more and go out and buy the comics. Now, that is not to say the show is perfect. One significant criticism is that the first season, all ten episodes of it, feels like the first half of a standard season of television and spends a large portion of its runtime setting up story lines and character arcs for future instalments. While there is still character development and plot progression, I can understand if audiences might feel like not much of a story was told or were left in the lurch.

Still, there is definitely something here, and I hope that the series gets more time and space to fully tell the story of the Paper Girls.

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