‘On My Block’ spinoff ‘Freeridge’ another feather in Netflix YA cap
‘Freeridge’ is called a spin-off – but it really only shares the same creative team (Laura Iungerich, Eddie Gonzalez, Jeremy Haft), downtown neighborhood and fantasy setting as its ancestor, ‘On My Block’ , a four-season comedy-drama program that aired on Netflix from 2018 to 2021.
The lovable new series, which premieres February 2 on Netflix, features an entirely different core cast as it unfolds the story of four high school friends in Freeridge, Calif., who believe they’ve accidentally unleashed a mysterious, evil force. and deal with its repercussions. .
Trouble begins almost immediately after we meet our protagonists: Gloria Salazar (Keyla Monterosso Mejia) and her annoying, slightly younger sister, Ines (Bryana Salaz), whose bickering sometimes turns into all-out brawls (but they really do love each other , natch). They hang out with Demi (Ciara Riley Wilson), who feels slightly ignored and underappreciated, and Cameron (Tenzing Norgay Trainor), who has a clingy boyfriend but really only has eyes for Demi. (Wilson made an appearance in the series finale “On My Block.”)
Gloria and Ines live with their widowed father, Javier (Jean Paul San Pedro) and his libertine brother, the clumsy man-child Tonio (JR Villareal), who sleeps in the kitchen pantry. Uncle Tonio is unemployed but has a personal assistant to do his insane offer – good-natured Rusty (Michael Solomon), who seems genuinely familiar to everyone (he is, we learn, “Trusty Rusty”, a former star of children’s television).
From left to right: Gloria, Demi, Cameron and Ines with the annoying box. KEVIN ESTRADA/NETFLIX
Gloria and Inez are still mourning the death of their mother (from cancer) but agree to sell some of her stuff at a garage sale, which leads to an embossed box with the initials “MM” – and, of roundabout way, the curse that surrounds it. (That’s where Marisol from “On My Block” comes in.) Before long, bad karma begins to infect Gloria, Ines et al., including Javier’s serious medical diagnosis. The friends’ goal: put the spirit of the evil genius back in the “MM” box and reverse the curse while navigating the ups and downs of their lives (and loves) and interpersonal dynamics.
Gloria (Keyla Monterosso Mejia), Ines (Bryana Salaz), Cameron (Tenzing Norgay Trainor) and Demi (Ciara Riley Wilson).KEVIN ESTRADA/NETFLIX
“Freeridge” trots at a brisk pace and there is rarely a dull moment. Jungerich, Haft and Gonzalez – joined here by co-creators Jamie Dooner and Jamie Uyeshero – have created fun and engaging characters that mesh well with each other on screen; here nothing is too forced and the comic situations are, for the most part, family, the “evil” as it is, without threat in this “Adventure! vein (note: it’s not “Stranger Things”). There is a lot of energy here. You’ll learn more about the friends’ lives as the season progresses, and they’ll find themselves in more situations that will test their mettle.
Jungerich said there’s “a lot of connective tissue” between “Freeridge” and “On My Block,” but you don’t have to have watched the former to enjoy the latter, which should fit right in. the Netflix YA canon.