Image courtesy of IMDb.com
By: Kat Kaderabek
Opening with a fast-paced, intriguing first episode, Netflix’s Teenage Bounty Hunters is not what the title leads viewers to believe. This ten-episode series is a humorous, fictional drama that is sure to rival Riverdale. Although it is not as fantastical as the plot of Riverdale, the overall atmosphere of Teenage Bounty Hunters is similar: small-town characters fight crime amidst their seemingly normal, yet complicated high school lives.
Centered around fraternal twins Sterling and Blair, the two polar-opposite sisters find themselves as assistants under the watchful eye of Bowser, an ex-cop and bounty hunter. What do some of these bounties entail? Try the parents of their wealthy, religious high school classmates.
Navigating their high school status and rocky romantic relationships is hard enough for a teenager. On top of this, the twins add secretly bounty hunting across Georgia to their list of extracurricular activities; however, this newfound job proves to be useful in discovering the secrets hidden within their elite town – even secrets their very own parents have kept from the twins.
The characters, especially the main characters Blair (Anjelica Bette Fellini) and Sterling (Maddie Phillips) Wesley, are the best part about the series. Their quirky personalities are easily lovable and often create humorous scenes in an otherwise daunting situation. They fully embody modern-day teenagers as they use modern slang, possess recognizable styles, and struggle with issues of subtle popularity shifts, unsatisfactory romantic relationships, and self-discovery.
Their status as twins cannot be understated in this series. The two are inseparable, and even possess some supernatural sixth sense to understand one another’s thoughts. Their relationship as sisters is incredibly endearing and realistic. Each twin possesses her own charismatic personality with flaws and mannerisms that make them their own people. Their individuality is not overshadowed by their relationship as twins, but rather enhanced by their complimentary dynamic.
Another character that outshines the rest is April Stevens (Devon Hales), Sterling’s arch-rival and god-fearing enemy. She uses her status as school saint to tweak and manipulate Sterling’s social standings as the leader of the school’s religious program; however, the twins get their revenge when they arrest April’s father for domestic violence and sex-work. The dynamic between Sterling and April is charged with hate and jealousy, and perhaps something more.
The show provides an ironic and cynical critique of Catholic schools and southern properties in a humorous and underhanded way. As the twins battle with ideas of sex and love, their bounty-hunting activites shake their sheltered and structured world. Not only do politics come into play, but racial biases and homophobia are presented and questioned by the modern-day main characters.
The plot is fast-paced in the beginning episodes but slows down as the series continues, before picking up in an epic, action-packed finale that leaves viewers questioning Sterling and Blair’s family secrets.
The rising action is rather slow, with the episodes focusing more on the qualms of Blair and Sterling’s high school relationships rather than the bounty hunting itself. Instead, the bounty hunting takes a back seat to the twins’ personal developments and becomes more of a gimmick than an actual plot motivator. This occurs until the final episode, when their bounty hunting connections become the very thing that might save their lives.
One of the most interesting things about their bounty hunting experience is the advent of social media stalking. This modern take on bounty hunting leads viewers to believe that teenagers are the most capable of catching criminals out on a bail-bond through the application of social media. Sterling and Blair are highly capable of discovering the whereabouts of fugitives with quick swipes of their fingers, leaving old-school Bowser amazed and endeared to the quick-thinking teenagers.
Netflix has yet to renew Teenage Bounty Hunters for a second season; however, the cliffhanger ending requires much more of an explanation that a second season would be perfect to develop.