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Paper Girls is Prime Video’s answer to Stranger Things – 87% on Rotten Tomatoes

The runaway success of Netflix’s Stranger Things hasn’t gone unnoticed by its streaming competitors, and now Amazon Prime Video has released something in a very similar vein, featuring ’80s kids dealing with the supernatural.

But while it may seem like a far-fetched imitation, Paper Girls, based on the comic book of the same name by Brian Q. Vaughn and Cliff Chang, impressed critics with its first season, earning an 87% freshness rating. (will open in a new tab) on Rotten Tomatoes during its first eight-episode run.

“It has a great Stranger Things energy (or should it be the Goonies and Stand By Me meta-energy?), but everything feels fresh.” — The Guardian. (will open in a new tab) says in its four-star review. “They unite first in the face of male aggression, and this awareness of the common dangers that bind them, even when they are outwardly different and challenging each other, gives it all an unusually strong foundation.”

While the show tells a sci-fi tale of time travel, it often serves as the backdrop for a deeper exploration of girl characters, like TV Guide’s Kate Phipps. (will open in a new tab) estimates.

“The mind-blowing distortions of time make it fascinating,” he writes. “The inner lives of the characters give that heart. But it’s the combination of the two, and the willingness to pause to focus on the latter, that makes Paper Girls stand out.”

This is echoed by Dan Finberg in The Hollywood Reporter. (will open in a new tab)“While the fantasy elements give Paper Girls a compelling appeal, what’s really fantastic about the eight-episode series is its surprisingly endearing portrayal of teenage girl friendship.”

Nick Allen at RogerEbert.com (will open in a new tab) agree. “An amazing time-travel coming-of-age story that pretty much spares the nostalgic needle drops and stares, but makes you care about each of the 12-year-old girls and their lives,” he writes.

Apparently it works, in large part due to the performances of the main stars described by USA Today. (will open in a new tab) as “beautiful talents executing thoughtful scripts”.

However, the praise is not universal, and there are five “rotten” reviews in a barrel of “fresh” reviews, although they are more average than downright bad.

“The comics were a breakneck punk war of the times across a wide spectrum of space with multiple versions of our heroes,” lamented Clint Worthington on Consequence TV. (will open in a new tab). “But this show only has a budget for a couple of different timelines, only a few decades apart, and it’s struggling to fill that time.”

Meanwhile, Richard Roeper at the Chicago Sun Times (will open in a new tab) believe that it has the potential to become “a kind of less nostalgic Stranger Things”, but “they’ll have to speed up and convince us that this story is worth a long life.”

The thrilling finale suggests that Amazon is planning for this extended multi-series period, a bold move in a year where Netflix cancellations are already in the double digits. But the general consensus is that it’s enough to justify the plan, and hopefully we’ll see it blossom into a show that could take away the sci-fi itch when Stranger Things season 5 wraps up the saga.

So if you liked the retro sci-fi of Stranger Things, it looks like Paper Girls is a must-watch on Amazon Prime Video.

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