‘On My Block’ spin-off ‘Freeridge’: Is it as good as the original?



The Netflix official photo of the “Freerigde” cast portraying them as the major arcana on tarot cards.

by Mateo Peyton-Deblock, Reporter

“Freerigde” is a spinoff of the popular Netflix original series “On my Block. ” “On My Block” first aired on Netflix in 2018.

The original show is about four teens growing up in a town called Freeridge in the Los Angeles area. The show talks about dealing with gang wars, the death of a teenager, coming of age and finding oneself. 

It grew widely popular with many teens across the country when it premiered, not only due to the comedy of the show but how well the characters were portrayed. Sadly, the show ended in 2021 in its fourth season. Despite the series’ demise, fans were still obsessing over their beloved characters and hoping for the show to continue. 

In the summer of 2021, Netflix announced the spin-off titled “Freerigde.” The show followed the same structure as its counterpart:” four teens growing up in Freerigde dealing with teenage drama.”

The only difference between this show and “On my Block” was the new main conflict of the show. The four teens seem to have released a curse from a box they bought and are now stuck with the challenge of putting everything back together. 

“On my Block” did a really amazing job at making the characters appear as real teenagers, rather than the typical 20-something portraying a 14-year-old, which has happened in countless teen series.

Despite the anticipation, the new show was highly disappointing. Within the first episode, it was apparent that the show had fallen victim to “TV teenagers” syndrome. 

Unfortunately, the characters had no depth to them. The show tried so hard to be Gen Z funny that it failed, making viewers cringe rather than relate to the characters on the screen. It was expected that new characters in the spin-off would have just as much personality and be just as relatable and loveable as those in the original series. In fact, the characters are so unlikable that I had to turn it off halfway through the season.

Yet, one thing that the show unfortunately did was try to justify characters’ bad decisions. Characters would be rude, mean to their friends, and disrespectful to others, and the show’s writers and directors made sure that they were always ‘forgiven.’ These characters never apologized for their poor behavior, nor did they face any consequences. They were just able to go on like nothing happened. 

The reason “On my Block” was so popular was because it never tried too hard to be funny; it just was. The director knew how to make the characters relatable in the way they act, just like genuine, real-life teenagers. 

The show was able to handle struggles like teen murder and PTSD extremely well. That is the reason people loved the first show: it did a great job at making the viewers understand what the characters are going through in the moment.

Unlike “Freeridge,” “On My Block” did not just share an incident without also showing the after-math of that event. It showed characters working through their trauma; it showed viewers how they cope. 

Furthermore, “On my Block ” did a wonderful job at bringing viewers along with the story, immersing them in the teenagers’ world. The characters are likable, the story is well-written, there is diversity within the main cast and the jokes never fail to make me laugh. 

Overall, it was an amazing show, and the storyline should have stayed where the series ended. It is the type of show that does not need a new cast. Many viewers loved the main cast since the show’s debut in 2018; there was no need for the story of the town of Freerigde to keep going. 

“Freeridge” felt like the show director wanted to one-up “On my Block.” Although they did not follow the same script and made it their own, one could tell they wanted to make it just as enjoyable as the first series.

Unfortunately, I was not able to get past the third episode, and even at that point, the show was just boring,  overall. It is telling that I cannot even recall what happened in those three episodes. There was no true personality within the show. 

While the directors tried their best to make the new show as likable as “On My Block,” they forgot to actually put in the effort to give their characters life. If a new season comes out, I hope they take a deeper look into how to make their show stand on its own without trying so hard to beat a show that just can be beat.