Paper Girls Review: This comic book adaptation falls short of becoming an epic time travel adventure

Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang's comic book gets an adaptation that not satisfying enough. Read Pinkvilla's review below.

Updated on Aug 03, 2022 05:51 PM IST  |  191K
Paper Girls Review
Paper Girls premieres its first season on July 29.
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Paper Girls

Paper Girls Cast: Riley Lai Nelet, Fina Strazza, Sofia Rosinsky, Camryn Jones

Paper Girls Creator: Stephany Folsom

Streaming Platform: Amazon Prime Video

Paper Girls Stars: 2.5/5

Paper Girls Review 1

Time travel is one genre that seems to be full of new content. After films like The Adam Project found massive success, the latest addition to the streaming platform exploring the concept of timelines is now Paper Girls. For comic book fans, it's a much-awaited project given the popularity of the comic written by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Cliff Chiang. Amazon Prime Video's new show takes us on the same adventurous journey that the comics have promised. The show has one massive challenge to tackle and that's handling the varied timelines that the story takes us through but it seems under director Mairzee Almas,  Georgi Banks-Davies, Destiny Ekaragha, and Karen Gaviola it's a promising start.

 Paper Girls kicks off on an exciting note as a group of 12-year-olds delivering early-morning newspapers in Stony Stream, Ohio, in 1988 get trapped into a strange time warp that leaves them in a distant future. It's a scary skirmish that lands these young ones including Erin (Riley Lai Nelet), Mac (Sofia Rosinsky), KJ (Fina Strazza) and Tiff (Camryn Jones) land into a foreign timeline where they eventually run into their own future selves. It's a particularly interesting journey as we see the characters reflecting on their own past, present and future. There is a clash of personalities between the members of the group and these elements play out nicely when they have to take big decisions about figuring out their time travel adventures.

Paper Girls Review 2

The 1980s timeline and several other elements of the show are sure to make viewers draw comparisons with Netflix's Stranger Things but that won't be the case with the comic book fans who know well how different Paper Girls is compared to it. The 80s in Paper Girls has a different vibe to it. The touch of innocence seems more strong in the way that it fleshes out its characters. Taking material out of a comic book and adapting it for a TV show that's spread across well-timed thirty-five-minute episodes doesn't seem like an impossible task but somehow in the case of this show, it seems like the dialogue is significantly diluted. Despite having the luxury to play around with the content at hand, the show seems to be in a hurry to bring forth moments of shock and awe which seem a tad ill-timed. There's little time spent on character work to make us want to invest in them, particularly if haven't been familiar with the books.

Another major setback for the show also happens to be in its technical department. For a science-fiction adventure, the special effects in the show prove to be its biggest shortcoming. The idea of a futuristic world in the Paper Girls comics paints a vision that is unmissable but in the case of the show, it doesn't reflect the same way. There seems a distinctly less creative version of the creatures that Cliff Chiang has so ironically built into the comic book universe. This seems like a major drawback for the show considering how streaming shows have been consistently upping their game when it comes to the VFX works and with the likes of Wheel of Time being a good example of what a right budget can do for an Amazon project, Paper Girls seems to have fallen short.

Paper Girls Review 3

In terms of the casting, the show does manage to make some great choices and it's particularly impressive how Camryn Jones, Riley Lai Nelet, Sofia Rosinsky and Fina Strazza confidently take on their roles. Camryn certainly leaves an impact with her impressive act as the know-it-all Tiff, and so does Sofia Rosinksy. As the show's older cast, Ali Wong as adult Erin and Sekai Abenì as adult Tiffany are the ones to watch out for.

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The show also scores points with its score as Bobby Krlic composes an epic theme. In terms of the costume department, there's enough effort taken to emulate the fashion of the 80s and then also when the timelines switch. While there's no denying that comparisons of hair and makeup will be made with Stranger Things which does capture the era better, it's not that Paper Girls doesn't do justice but isn't all that bad.

Paper Girls' first season seems interesting enough as it builds its pace through the first few episodes and also leaves us with a cliffhanger. Even though the second season of the show isn't confirmed yet, the show may not receive the same popularity as the platform's other comic books based shows such as The Boys. This may not be the show that you look for when the final season of Stranger Things airs and there's a sci-fi adventure-shaped hole in your heart.


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