Stories of inner-city teens are not often shared, but Netflix does nothing to shy away from this topic in its new original series “On My Block,” a cross between a comedy and drama.
The first episode sets the mood for the rest of the series off perfectly: four teenagers, the summer before freshman year, fantasizing about what parties, dating, and discoveries high school will promise.
Each one is struggling with something different. The trials faced by these four teenagers aren’t necessarily new to TV, whether it’s love triangles, parental dramas, peer pressure, or sexuality, but the setting makes all the difference.
It’s a coming-of-age story with a fresh zeal. Not only is the setting charged with violence, crime, and tough choices, the character’s backstories and impending futures keeps viewers enthralled throughout the ten episode season.
The almost casual way the main characters experienced these different hardships is intriguing. Simple details enhance the setting of the story even better: the normalcy of gunshots sounding around the neighborhood, the prevalence of the Spanish language, police cars creeping all over the area. Some creators may shy away from exploring such a nerve-racking setting, but not Lauren Iungerich, Eddie Gonzalez, and Jeremy Haft.
These three creators somehow weaved together gang violence, romantic trials, societal hierarchies, a treasure hunt, and ride-or-die friendships. Friendships that can’t help but tug at a watcher’s heartstrings. It’s clear that Jamal, Monse, Ruby, and Cesar all stand to lose something throughout the series but do everything in their power to stick together. The phrase “blood is thicker than water” need not apply here.
The representation offered in this new series is also commendable. With all four main characters and almost every supporting character being Latino, Afro-Latino, or African-American, “On My Block” stands out even more against the backdrop of their competitors. Combine that with music that feels authentic to these cultures and the show is even more impressive.
”On My Block” has not yet been promised a second season, but a strong fan turn out and sparkling critic reviews hints that it’s likely coming.
Jordyn Dees // Co-Opinion Editor and Business Manager