Netflix’s Teenage Bounty Hunters hits the ground running with a first season that brings with it witty humour, creative storytelling and a great lineup of characters. It follows two Christian twin sisters who join forces with a bounty hunter to bring in criminals while also trying to balance the struggles of teenage life.
The heart and soul of this series lies in the spectacular chemistry of twins Sterling (Maddie Phillips) and Blair (Anjelica Bette Fellini) and their bounty hunter acquaintance Bowser (Kadeem Hardison). The way the three of them go back and forth within each episode is absolutely brilliant. The quick, witty dialogue between Sterling and Blair is incredibly well written and endlessly entertaining. Any scene when the two of them are cracking jokes, dropping one-liners and going into their stylised ‘twin intuition’ is just great. What works so well with their pairing with Bowser is the stark contrast between them in terms of attitude and, of course, age. As their relationship grows through the season it only gets more and more entertaining.
That central character relationship may be fantastic, but there are a number of supporting characters who have their own arcs and are also very engaging in their own way. April (Devon Hales) and Debbie (Virginia Williams) specifically, both have arcs that take a while to really take off but they’re ones that make for a number of intriguing scenes in the latter half of the season. The performances across the board are just brilliant, especially Maddie and Anjelica who lead the series near perfectly. Their dialogue delivery and comedic timing in spot on for the entire series.
When it comes to the actual narrative, the series takes the form of a crime procedural, with a new bounty every episode, but it oddly doesn’t feel as restricted as a crime procedural. I feel it’s due to the fact that the arcs that span multiple episodes take the majority of the focus and the bounties play out in the background. I quite like this approach since it gives the series something different to identify it. It kicks off really fast with the first episode and only gets better from there… mostly. There are a few subplots that slow things down a little and go off on some average tangents, but then you also have a number of emotional arcs that really pay off.
There’s no doubt that there is a very strong Christian element to the series that plays heavily into a number of the story arcs. This Christian element doesn’t feel jarring since it’s worked in really well to the various story arcs, but it definitely eases off over time. I feel like if the Christian element remained at the forefront for the entire season it may have become too repetitive, but the fact that it eases off a little is smart.
I mentioned that it’s very smooth sailing and gets better with each episode… that is up until the last episode of the season. I can’t help but feel that the last episode completely drops the ball and doesn’t end the season really well. The final episode feels like it’s burning bridges just to get audiences more engaged in a second season. I know this technique, since Twin Peaks famously did that at the end of its first season, throwing every character’s arc into peril to entice people to want to keep watching. The difference there is that it fit with the type of series that Twin Peaks was, whereas it feels quite off-key in this show. It doesn’t ruin the show, but it does make for a disappointing ending.
In the end, Teenage Bounty Hunters is an absolute delight. The electric chemistry between Sterling, Blair and Bowser is what makes the show as entertaining as it is. Their back and forth makes for a number of great comedic moments that keep on coming at a genuinely regular pace. It stumbles with the execution of the final episode, but up until that point it builds in quality and gets better and better. I’m intrigued to see where things could go in a potential second season.