Amazon’s new sci-fi teen drama Paper Girls follows four teenage girls who find themselves sucked into a time-traveling conflict while out on their paper round one dark morning. Set in the hours after Halloween 1988, the young women must travel between time periods, encountering different versions of themselves as they attempt to save their future.
Since its release, the series has received widespread critical acclaim but there’s been one major theme among the verdicts: comparisons to Netflix’s Stranger Things (H/T Tom’s Guide (opens in new tab)). Among these, The Hollywood Reporter (opens in new tab) calls Paper Girls “Stranger Things by way of The Baby-Sitters Club” while The Guardian (opens in new tab) says it is “a hugely fun sci-fi caper that’s like an all-female Stranger Things”.
The reviews draw on the similarities between the shows both being set in the 1980s and following a group of teens caught in a mystery. However, some Paper Girls fans argue the new series is even better than Stranger Things.
“If I see one more comment saying Paper Girls is a ‘Stranger Things rip-off’ I’m going to cry,” writes one viewer (opens in new tab). “The series is amazing and started before Stranger Things did. Not all ’80s-themed media today is inspired by Stranger Things.” The Paper Girls comic books by Brian K. Vaughan were released in October 2015, predating Stranger Things’ July 2016 release.
a second posted (opens in new tab): “Folk who found Stranger Things vapid, nostalgic pish should absolutely check out Paper Girls (and read the comics) cause it’s really quite good”. while a third added (opens in new tab): “All I will say is that I gave up on Stranger Things after maybe one and a half episodes and I’m on episode 3 of Paper Girls and plan to continue watching the series. There are obviously broad points of similarity but it’s definitely not Stranger Things.”
Others have been praising the representation in the show of LGBTQIA+ relationships and characters of color. “Okay if you like Stranger Things but want something with more w/w rep and female protagonists, Paper Girls is streaming on Amazon Prime,” tweeted another viewer (opens in new tab). a fifth fan argued (opens in new tab): “I love Stranger Things, but Paper Girls is closer to my own experience of growing up in the ’80s in terms of the diversity and the fact that Asian people actually exist in the foreground, not just the background.”
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