In its opening moments, the trailer seems to have a “Stranger Things” motif going, with a group of ragtag ’80s kids on bikes witnessing a freaky event in their small town. In actuality, “Stranger Things” reminded myself and other readers of “Paper Girls” when season 1 debuted the year after the first issues of the Image Comics. The comparisons will surely stick around, but the trailer for “Paper Girls” differentiates itself pretty quickly with a time-hopping plot featuring Ali Wong. The comedian appears as the older iteration of Erin (Riley Lai Nelet), the new girl on the Stony Stream paper route who immediately freaks out about the prospect of meeting her younger/older self.
The trailer also gives us a full look at the cast of characters, which in addition to Erin includes tomboy Mac (Sofia Rosinsky), gamer Tiffany (Camryn Jones), and field hockey player KJ (Fina Strazza). Despite possessing the particular brand of resourcefulness that comes with being 12-year-olds with jobs in the 1980s, the girls quickly find themselves of their element after accidentally ending up in 2019. “Who’s she gonna call, time travel 911?” Mac says sarcastically as the group freaks out in future Erin’s kitchen, only for an Alexa device to startle the group by responding.
The “Paper Girls” comics ran for 30 issues and got surprisingly deep into the particulars of a time war between factions from different eras. This plot is already apparent in the season 1 trailer, which shows groups of white-clad soldier types marching in formation and trying to zap at the girls with lasers. Mostly, though, the series looks like it could pull off an adventurous take on an idea that’s always been the basis of great pop culture stories — what your 12-year-old self might think of you now.
“Paper Girls” hits Prime Video on July 29, 2022.