Netflix's underrated gem, On My Block, got a gem of a spinoff, titled Freeridge, on February 2, 2023.
In an era of constant reboots, remakes, and spinoffs in the rapidly flooding OTT market, it feels nice to say that this show is quite different. It neither blindly follows its predecessor nor tries to overstamp it with authority. It does what a good spinoff should. It stays true to itself.
While it is easy to categorize this new series in the expansive Netflix catalog of supernatural shows dealing with 15-ish-year-old kids and magical twists and turns, this On My Block has much more.
Dealing with a curse, some teenage relationships, and the weight of growing up, Freeridge is a delightful watch that would hardly bother any viewer with its content. The storytelling may be uneven at times, but given the rapidly deteriorating quality of spinoffs in recent days, this is almost like a revelation.
The eight-episode show measuring about half an hour each, is one of Netflix's best works in recent times, especially after the lackluster That '90s Show.
Read on for a detailed review of Freeridge.
Freeridge review: Eight episodes of pure fun
The On My Block spinoff is hard to dislike and quite impossible to hate. Like its underappreciated predecessor, Freeridge is set in the titular street, where the show takes us back immediately and is set around some familiar characters, making the introduction easy. It is also skillful in introducing the characters.
The show centers around the core group of Gloria (Keyla Monterroso Mejia), Demi (Ciera Riley Wilson), and Cameron (Tenzing Norgay Trainor), along with Gloria’s younger sister Ines (Bryana Salaz) and Cameron’s clingy boyfriend Andre (Zaire Adams).
This sophomore year drama could have perhaps pulled itself to its feet even without the lingering mystery of the apparent curse, but the various elements in the show only make it better.
Interestingly, the pilot of the series was set up in the finale of On My Block, another nod to clever writing that has been the standout in this Netflix show. This spinoff does not shy away from using familiar past characters and some storyline cliches, but again, it does so with its own identity, something that has been a problem with most spinoffs in recent times.
The great storyline with quirky characters is aided by some brilliant acting from both the lead cast and the supporting ones. Keyla Monterroso Mejia, who is slowly making a name for herself, deserves a special mention here as Gloria's character was one of the most intriguing parts of the show. Tenzing Norgay Trainor was also one of the standout performers.
But the most important thing, and the most difficult one, that this series has achieved is balance. It is hard enough to perfectly balance two things, let alone managing to balance mystery, comedy, drama, friendship, and vivid storytelling without letting anything slip and fall in between. It has also managed to shape its own identity without completely relying on the original show.
This is a remarkable achievement in creating spinoffs, and any viewer who simply wants to witness some good television will not be disappointed with Freeridge. It is just as much fun as line series as it is as a sequel.
Freeridge is now streaming on Netflix.