Netflix’s latest addition to their 2020 catalog is The Baby-Sitters Club. Based on Anne M. Martin’s book series, the television show brings the stories from the 80’s into today’s world, making them relatable to a whole new generation. The Baby-Sitters Club has always been ahead of its time.
Fiercely modern, the series has always looked at issues of identity, fitting in, equality, and unconventional family dynamics. Given its progressive story lines, the beloved books series has made a seamless transition into the 21st century. Remaining true to its light-hearted and humorous tone, the first season of Netflix’s The Baby-Sitters Club bridges the gap between readers from the 80’s and the streaming generation.
One of the biggest questions circling the series is how will the series adapt to cater to modern day audiences? The Baby-Sitters Club has always been more inclusive than its contemporary bookshelf neighbors and the new series remains true to that diversity. There is multi-cultural representation, but there is also relatability in the actual character department. From the bossy and the brainy to the social justice seeker and the bad student, the characters represented are true to real humans and portrayed positively for their differences.
This comes across with great performances from up and coming actors like Sophie Grace and Momona Tamada, who play Kristy and Claudia, the president and vice-president of the club. Grace and Tamada have excellent chemistry as two of the most outspoken characters. Kristy Thomas and Claudia Kishi are incredibly different and have differences, but delivery and performances by Grace and Tamada add layers to their dynamic. Oftentimes, discussions are quickly portrayed as bitter rivalries for the sake of drama, but the performances and series’ writing shows how differences do not need to destroy friendships.
This first season is not afraid to mix heavy themes in with the more lighthearted aspects of coming of age. The BSC is composed of young girls in leadership roles. Despite the differences in personalities, even the shyest of the members steps up to fulfill their responsibilities and prioritize the needs of the children. Malia Baker shines in her role as the timid Mary-Anne Spier. Mary-Anne is the most introverted of the baby-sitters who has trouble standing up for herself, but finds it no trouble advocating for a child.
Despite grappling with serious issues, the show remains fun and true to the pre-adolescent experiences. Crushes, dances, and camp, traditional plot points of growing up mark the show, but it manages to exhibit strong friendships, lessons about individuality, while never veering towards that didactic after school feeling.
Lovers of the book series will enjoy the show, but the baby-sitters will find a new and welcoming audience with today’s generation. The Baby-Sitters Club tackles modern day issues in a sensitive and nuanced way that can be embraced by viewers. Heart felt and funny, The Baby-Sitters Club is a wonderful much needed series that will charm audiences and maybe get them to go back and read the series!