‘On My Block’ was one of Netflix’s hit original series that lasted four seasons and ended in 2021. Now, two years later, its spinoff show ‘Freeridge’ has been released and the big question is, does it live up to its predecessor?
‘On My Block’ featured a friend group of one girl, Monse, and three guys, Cesar, Ruby, and Jamal, whose first season focuses on getting Cesar out of a gang. In this spinoff, we have a role reversal where we have three girls, Gloria, her younger sister, Ines, Demi, and one guy, Cam, who are all trying to reverse an evil curse put on them, brought upon by Ruby’s grandaunt.
Both shows are comedy dramas set in the same South Central Los Angeles neighborhood and high school, where each friend group tackles growing pains.
However, ‘Freeridge’ feels less like an ensemble cast than ‘On My Block’ because Gloria’s character stands out against the rest. In terms of the curse, she is the one who is most concerned about trying to reverse it and taking the actual steps to do so. Ines comes in at a close second due to the complex older sister/younger sister dynamic she has with Gloria throughout the show. Their sisterhood heavily overshadows the romance between Cam and Demi, especially since the two sisters find themselves in their own relationship drama.
While Cam and Demi are not the stars of the show they are still important because they explore sexuality in a way we don’t get to see in ‘On My Block’, since none of the original cast was queer. In ‘Freeridge’, Cam is openly bisexual and dating the comedic relief of the show, Andre, while he juggles his complicated feelings for Demi. Throughout this storyline, we get to see Cam open up to both Andre and Demi about his struggle to fully accept himself.
My main issue while watching the show is while ‘On My Block’ was filled with flawed characters who made choices that were hard to support, I found myself more upset with the characters from ‘Freeridge’. Particularly, I hated the other characters’ treatment of Gloria and Andre, who are both my favorite and seemingly fan favorites. I think this mainly comes from the fact that the characters were not able to be fully fleshed out, which makes it harder to empathize with them. I’m hoping in future seasons (if renewed!) we’ll get more insight into Cam and Demi’s home life, and get to see Andre beyond his comedic relief status. Also, the conflict that occurs between Gloria and Ines is heightened because they are sisters, and have gone through some really tough times together. My hope for them is that they’ll be able to have a heart-to-heart in the future, instead of sweeping things under the rug.
Overall, I think this show has potential and the ability to stand on its own from its predecessor since it does introduce some new dynamics. Hopefully, by the next time we see these characters on screen they’ll have undergone some necessary workshopping.