‘Paper Girls’ mixes ‘Stranger Things’ and ‘Doctor Who’
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A Few ‘Paper Girls’ Spoilers Below
Watching ‘Paper Girls’ on Amazon Prime Video can only be described as quite an “experience”. What starts out as a nice little nostalgic trip back to the 80s slowly matures into something weird and fantastically irreverent. Yeah, it’s got that ‘Stranger Things’ vibe, but if you think it’s drenched in ’80s tech, swag and long hair, think again. The girls spend so little time in their current era that you even begin to wonder if it should be categorized as an ’80s series.
What puts it in the same vein as ‘Stranger Things’ are the adorable friendships. They ride bikes together and are willing to risk their lives for each other in a way that mirrors the Hawkins gang. Their friendship was born out of extraordinary circumstances, but it grows just as strong.: is what it has to face an imminent danger, nothing better to create friendships between strangers.
WATCH ‘PAPER GIRLS’
the story too is similarly anchored in the innocence of the young protagonists, an aspect that goes hand in hand with the enormously precarious task that has been entrusted to them. And it’s a magical thing to see.
Where it stumbles into ‘Doctor Who’ territory is only partly to do with the time travel aspect. The delivery girls may not have the Tardis handy, but they get by with a couple of pods and a few folds (opens in time).
The unexpected becomes even more mind-blowing towards the end: at one point a pterodactyl arrives, appearing to be drinking directly from the same whimsical color palette as ‘Doctor Who’. However, we have a feeling that our dinosaur friend is only scratching the surface of what is to come. Screenwriter and co-creator Brian K Vaughan has defined the series as a hybrid between ‘Count on me’ and ‘Terminator’but it’s actually a mix of all that (and more) resulting in something new and wonderful.
“It’s a story about nostalgia and childhood, but with a twist of action-packed sci-fi”Vaughn said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly and reason is not lacking.
What the series does well, very well, is give a voice to those who have traditionally been underrepresented in the science fiction genre without feeling forced. At its core, ‘Paper Girls’ tells the story of four teenage girls caught out of their time on a mission to get home, and yet somehow we’re turning the spotlight on women within science fiction. They are strong, central and compelling female characters, where historically they would have been props to the main story.
The series is ethnically inclusive and even allows for conversations about sexuality. The spectrum of what it means to be a woman is also explored through these girls and guess what? It’s not just one thing. It’s Tiffany’s intelligence, it’s baseball enthusiast KJ’s sportsmanship, it’s Erin’s femininity through her vibrant nails and her compassion. It is all those things and more.
In the 80’s, Mac’s obvious but unspoken reluctance to conform to gender norms would have been attributed to a “tomboyish” nature, something that was fixed with a dress and a nice hairstyle. Yet here Sofia Rosinsky’s foul-mouthed Mac is free to be herself without explanation, and it’s great.
At the same time, at its core, the series is a sci-fi, fantasy, mystery, and time-travel marvel with compelling characters and a rich story. Forget everything you think you know about time travel, because ‘Paper Girls’ has thrown the manual out the window. There are no apparent paradoxical consequences to meeting his past and future selves (a deadly sin of time travel stories). It is better not to think too much: close your eyes and enjoy the trip. It’s exciting.
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