Teenage Bounty Hunters is a TV series on Netflix about two teenagers who fall into the bounty hunting gig.
Sterling and Blair Wesley are twin sisters living in Atlanta, Georgia. The girls attend a Christian high school where Sterling is selected “Fellowship Student Leader” while Blair spends her time obsessing about plans to lose her virginity. The premiere opens on each sister in the midst of a heavy makeout session with their respective boyfriends. Although I suffered from an intense high school flashback triggered by the use of “Closer” and “Strawberry Wine” as background music, the setting is contemporary.
After a literal run-in with a stranger, the girls accidentally help capture a bail jumper chased by bounty hunter Bowser. The girls demonstrate a surprising facility with sleuthing and are handy with a shotgun, and Bowser ends up taking them under his wing and teaching them the trade.
The show alternates between scenes of the girls working with Bowser, attending school, and navigating family and romantic relationships. One of Sterling’s complications is her biggest rival and the school’s the mean girl, April. And you can cut the romantic tension between them with a knife.
The Technical Side
Jenji Kohan, creator of Orange is the New Black, also served as executive producer of Teenage Bounty Hunters. Like the prison dramedy, this show is character-driven.
There are no elaborate sets or special effects. The production quality is just good enough that viewers aren’t distracted from the storyline.
Teenage Bounty Hunters is just fun to watch. It’s over the top, but it’s also a heartfelt portrayal of sisterhood, the teenage years, and growing up in the Bible Belt. The characters are affected by the real pressures of homophobia, gendered expectations, and racism, but the tone is buoyed by a sense of youthful exuberance. It’s also chock-full of funny one-liners.
Bowser is played by Kadeem Hardison, best known from his star turn as Dwayne Wayne on A Different World. I must say that being reintroduced to Hardison after so many years is a pleasure. Bowser is a gruff but lovable character that also has hidden depths.
But let’s not kid ourselves, the friction between Sterling and April is the highlight of this show. There is just something especially satisfying about an enemies-to-girlfriends arc. Devon Hales gives a committed performance and does a great job allowing us to glimpse the pain behind April’s seemingly-impenetrable facade.
I should prepare you that Sterling and April’s storyline does not end on a happy note, and we only get a few relationship scenes. But in those few scenes, Teenage Bounty Hunters manages to convey the excitement of realizing “more than a friend” feelings, the excruciating pressure to conform to social expectations, and the heartbreak of losing a promising relationship.
Meanwhile Blair Wesley joins the long list of dark-haired, dry-witted teen characters, as perfected by Eliza Dushku, who should have been gay.
Sadly, Netflix announced there would be no follow-up season for this show featuring, yes, teenage bounty hunters
Watch Teenage Bounty Hunters if you are looking for a funny, slightly gay teen show that’s easy to binge.
The Best Scene In Teenage Bounty Hunters
Ellen Johnson absolutely steals any scene she is in. She plays Fellowship Group leader Ms. Everett to the hilt. I spent my fair share of time in Christian youth groups, and I really enjoyed this loving caricature of an overly-enthusiastic youth leader. In one of my favorite scenes, Ms. Everett asks her class to recreate Biblical structures. Sterling awkwardly pines over April as Ms. Everett excitedly announces “Who says we don’t teach the arts at this school?”.
Where to Watch It
It’s on Netflix
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Bits and Bobs
- Creator: Kathleen Jordan
- Producers: Kathleen Jordan, Jenji Kohan, Tara Herrmann, Robert Sudduth, Blake McCormick, Jesse Peretz
- Writers: Alex Edelman, Kathleen Jordan
- Actors: Maddie Phillips, Anjelica Bette Fellini, Kadeem Hardison, and Devon Hales
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