Teenage Bounty Hunters is Netflix’s newest teen comedy that aims to be your big weekend binge. It’s about twin sisters who accidentally collect a bounty, and then realize they’re kinda great at this whole bounty hunting thing. There are some obstacles: they go to an uptight Christian academy, they owe their parents a lot of money, and they’re teenagers.
Opening Shot: We open on two vehicles parked outside of Willingham Academy (current marquee motto: “Our school is prayer conditioned!”). And inside those vehicles, twins Blair (Anjelica Bette Fellini) and Sterling (Maddie Phillips) are getting it on with their respective boyfriends. Sterling’s turning Bible verses into dirty talk, while Blair’s showing her dude some of her new hand moves. But this ain’t the only action these sisters are getting up to tonight—far from it.
The Gist: This is the genius of the title Teenage Bounty Hunters: the title is the gist. Sterling and Blair are upperclass teens in an upperclass suburb of Atlanta who attend an upperclass Christian academy—and their entire life is turned upside down when they crash their dad’s hunting truck into a dude running from a bounty hunter (Kadeem Hardison). The twins quickly—and accidentally—learn that they’re total naturals at the bounty hunting gig. That’s a good thing, too, because they gotta pay for the repairs on their dad’s truck before he notices the damage! The only choice is to team up with their new, incredibly reluctant mentor Bowser and start collecting those bounties. After all, teenage white girls can get into some (racist) places that Black men can’t in the South, and the twins know way more about social media stalking.
The bounty hunting ain’t the only drama in the teens’ lives, either. Sterling has to compete with the righteously snooty April (Devon Hales) for the title of Fellowship Student Leader. Not only that, Sterling has to keep the fact that she lost her virginity to her boyfriend Luke (Spencer House) a secret, lest she be excommunicated.
Our Take: Teenage Bounty Hunters delivers everything you want from its title, and then some. From the first minute, the show immediately stands apart and ahead of nearly every other new teen dramedy on Netflix (and lord knows there are a bunch). The show is a shotgun blast of wit, charm, and general WTF-ness that will make you laugh, scream, and hit “next episode.”
You can chalk a lot of the show’s success up to leads Maddie Phillips and Anjelica Bette Fellini, a pair of actors with legit twin chemistry. They’re a perfectly mismatched pair of horny high school messes, and their unrelenting support of each other during the most trying 24 hours of their lives (so far) is a joy to behold. These two are completely in sync with each other, and the way they throw themselves into their characters—screaming and shooting and running and scheming—is real star-making stuff.
But they’re far from the only winners in the cast. Kadeem Hardison is fantastic as the twins’ put upon, constantly annoyed bounty hunter boss. Honestly, the success of this bonkers premise rests squarely on his shoulders; as Bowser, Hardison somehow adds gravitas to all of these dangerous bail-skip-situations while calling out how ridiculous these girls are—and acknowledging that it’s ridiculous how much he needs their help. These three have big Buffy/Giles energy, but in their own unique way.
The show also deserves kudos for the way it depicts the south, specifically southern Christianity. It would be easy to presume from the opening sex scene that these were two snarky, rebellious atheist teens trapped against their will in the confines of Christianity—but they’re not. Sterling and Blair are a mess of positive and problematic contradictions, equal parts Gen Z progressive and culturally southern, carrying all the religious baggage that goes along with that. They’re aware of social justice and allies of the cause, but Sterling knows all about guns and Blair craves late night Chick-Fil-A. They’re like a lot of people that grew up in the south, and it’ll be interesting to see how the twins grow as a result of becoming… uh… bounty hunters.
Sex and Skin: You read the part about how the episode opens with Blair and Sterling getting it on with their boyfriends, right?
Parting Shot: SPOILERS: We get a look at one of the many skips Bowser’s trying to track down—and it’s a face that the twins will recognize.
Sleeper Star: The entire cast is top notch, but Wynn Everett—Madame Masque from Marvel’s Agent Carter—steals every scene she’s in as deliriously devout faculty member Ellen. She’s got a smile on her face and overwhelming love for Jesus in her heart.
Our Call: STREAM IT. This show is just as fun and irreverent as its title, but there’s actually more going on beneath that surface of snark.
Stream Teenage Bounty Hunters on Netflix