Paper Girls is an Amazon Prime series created for television by Stephanie Folsom, based on a comic by Brian K. Vaughan. Set in an 80’s backdrop, a quartet of paper route girls find themselves in a conflict and have to time travel to help save the world. A lot happens in the first season, full of surprising twists and the audience is as confused as the girls. That’s what makes Paper Girls so entertaining. A regular kid winds up involved in a larger mystery may seem formulaic. Still, thanks to the talented acting of the cast, Paper Girls delivers an engrossing show that leaves you salivating for the next season. 

Sure, there are similarities to Stranger Things because of the 80s setting and the girls riding bikes, but it is superficial. The four girls, Tiffany Quilkin (Camryn Jones), Erin Tieng (Riley Lai Nelet), Mac Coyle (Sofia Rosinsky), and KJ Brandman (Fina Strazza), are not friends at the start of the series. In fact, Erin is a newcomer to delivering papers. But, because it is Halloween and boys often bully the girls for being paper girls, they split into pairs, using Tiffany’s walkie-talkie to keep in contact. After two young men swipe one of Tiffany’s walkies, the girls track them down and end up in the middle of a war between two groups. Oh, and they travel forward in time. 

Would Our Younger Self Be Happy With Us?

Paper Girls still (L to R) Fina Strazza (KJ Brandman), Camryn Jones (Tiffany Quilkin), Ali Wong (adult Erin), Riley Lai Nelet (Erin Tieng)
Paper Girls still (L to R) Fina Strazza (KJ Brandman), Camryn Jones (Tiffany Quilkin), Ali Wong (adult Erin), Riley Lai Nelet (Erin Tieng) Cr. Anjali Pinto/Prime Video Courtesy of Prime Video

Paper Girls looks at expectations, hopes, and dreams. On social media, someone always asks how our younger selves would view us now. The series puts that to the test as the girls meet their future selves. Few young versions would be happy with their future adult self. Dreams change based on experience, which alters a person’s character. The young cast and their adult selves deliver great acting because you can see the younger self reflected in the adults’ words and actions and the unique individual that breaks off from that young version. 

Decent Action, Stellar Mystery

Paper Girls (L to R) Nate Corddry (Larry), Sofia Rosinsky (Mac Coyle), Fina Strazza (KJ Brandman), Riley Lai Nelet (Erin Tieng), Camryn Jones (Tiffany Quilkin)
Paper Girls (L to R) Nate Corddry (Larry), Sofia Rosinsky (Mac Coyle), Fina Strazza (KJ Brandman), Riley Lai Nelet (Erin Tieng), Camryn Jones (Tiffany Quilkin) Cr. Anjali Pinto/Prime Video Courtesy of Prime Video

The mystery and battles seem plausible if time travel existed. There would be a group that wants to change a dystopian outcome and a faction fighting to ensure the past remains unchanged. Naturally, the ones who want the past untouched are those furthest removed from their future negative impact. The effects are not Marvel phenomenal, but they get the job done. Besides, the draw is the characters. The mystery is at the peripherals and infringes on the girls as they try to survive.

Dynamo Cast You Root For

Paper Girls Adina Porter as Prioress Cr. Anjali Pinto/Prime Video Courtesy of Prime Video
Paper Girls Adina Porter as Prioress Cr. Anjali Pinto/Prime Video Courtesy of Prime Video

The show would not be entertaining without the beautiful cast of girls. Camyrn Jones balances Tiffany’s wit and youthful naivete. Sofia Rosinsky exudes angst because of her impoverished upbringing. The adult versions, especially Ali Wong as adult Erin and Sekai Abeni, hold their own with these talented kids. As the Prioress tracking them down, Adina Porter delivers a chilling performance because of her laser focus to catch the girls no matter what. I do not know how faithful the series is to the comic, but on its own, Paper Girls delivers a great show from a unique point of view. 

These young girls handle the circumstances better than most adults. There is room for more development, but Paper Girls conveys the depth of the girls as well as the toll time and experience take on goals. Paper Girls packages a watchable science fiction story with a cast that reels in audiences of all ages and music that older viewers will love. Paper Girls is about more than fighting for survival; it is about fighting for identity and the future that each girl envisions for themselves. It shows the saying about “best laid plans” is true; young or old, time travel or no and next season cannot come soon enough.

Paper Girls trailer from Prime Video via Youtube

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