Netflix's Freeridge will feel immediately familiar, even if you've never seen On My Block, the show it spins off from. That's because it uses some standard Netflix elements: teens dealing with supernatural elements while also dealing with real life, while at high school.
Freeridge looks like a show that could earn a spot on our list of the best shows on Netflix, and it's already climbing up Netflix's own lists. Freeridge (according to FlixPatrol), ranked at No. 4 on Netflix Top 10 shows in the U.S. list on February 3, the day after it arrived on the service.
Then, on Saturday (Feb. 4), Freeridge moved up to No. 3 on that list, and it's at No. 4 right now. And the titles above it (New Amsterdam, Ginny & Georgia and Wednesday) are all more established.
But none of that says that you should watch Freeridge tonight, does it? So, let's break down everything you need to know.
What is Netflix's Freeridge, and do you need to have seen On My Block?
The good news is that we can answer the latter question quickly and easily: No, you don't need to have seen On My Block.
Freeridge, which does take place in the titular hometown of On My Block, is about a new mystery faced by sisters Gloria (Keyla Monterroso Mejia) and Ines (Bryana Salaz), as well as their friends Demi (Ciara Riley Wilson) and Cam (Tenzing Norgay Trainor). But the only mystery up first is "why the hell are Gloria and Ines fighting?" The trailer below, though, helps you answer that quickly, with a great bit of back and forth.
A funny new high school coming-of-age comedy where everyone's their own kind of misfit, you'll probably have a hard time figuring out who's your favorite. I immediately jumped to Gloria, remembering Mejia from both Abbott Elementary and Curb Your Enthusiasm's recent seasons.
The big story that tracks throughout Freeridge, though, does unmentioned in the trailer. The gang finds a mystery box, and they actually believe it's cursed. Unfortunately for all, the box is opened, and chaos ensues.
Freeridge reviews: What critics say
Freeridge may be doing well in the Top 10 right now, but the critical masses still might regard it as somewhat of a hidden gem, as reviews aren't as aplenty as one might hope. For example, Rotten Tomatoes only has seven reviews pulled for the show's 86% score.
That said, those reviews are glowingly positive. Angie Han at The Hollywood Reporter writes that Freeridge does well by giving Mejia room to show "she's a gifted physical comedian who can elicit hearty laughs with an exaggerated facial expression or a goofy dance move," as well as an "opportunity to show off her dramatic range as well, channeling her irrepressible energy into rage or sadness."
Quinci LeGardye at The AV Club notes that Freeridge is for existing On My Block fans and newbies alike, writing "Freeridge is a genuine delight for superfans of OMB that also claims its place as a heartfelt, uproarious teen comedy in its own right." She also notes "Freeridge excels when it explores the bravery within vulnerability and a more mundane form of resilience, with its most heart-wrenching emotional scenes involving conversations about life and death in the characters’ kitchens. It’s difficult to balance heightened comedy and grounded drama, and Freeridge’s creative team does a solid job of giving both modes equal weight."
LeGardye also writes that it's not perfectly put together, stating "A few character developments and changes in motivations hit too quickly, and the season’s curse arc gets weaker as its never-ending twists and turns lead to an anticlimactic conclusion."
Joel Keller of Decider declares that, "Like On My Block, Freeridge is a fun show about a tight group of friends dealing with some strange goings-on in their neighborhood. Strong character development and confident lead performances make the show a very easy watch."
Outlook: We're excited to watch Freeridge
Freeridge looks like a fun watch, and while it's YA/supernatural mix is very familiar, Mejia's enough of a rising star that we're willing to try this series out to see more of her.
That said, the aforementioned storytelling whiffs make Freeridge sound like a show that won't thrill the most exacting watchers. For those, I'd recommend Poker Face, which has gone five for five so far.