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Binge or bust: ‘Teenage Bounty Hunters’ deserved more

PHOTO PROVIDED Anjelica Bette Fellini and Maddie Phillips star as Blair and Sterling Wesley in the cancelled Netflix original “Teenage Bounty Hunters.”

In the world of streaming platforms that are digging more and more into original content, hearing that a show has been cancelled after a season is becoming common place. Sure, back in the days of strictly cable it happened too. But now? Now it feels like even more of a constant.

And after two shows I was extremely excited about were cancelled within a week, it got me thinking. There have been at least a half dozen shows I’ve found myself roped into — only to be left with a cliffhanger and a cancellation. (I’m looking specifically at you Netflix…)

So, with that in mind — and with a suggestion from my favorite barista at Avenue 209 — I’ve decided to start a new series! Don’t worry, Throwback Thursday will still be around. But the latest cancellations have given me an idea for this column: Binge or Bust!

Much like a game show, I plan to watch (or sometimes rewatch) a show that was cancelled on various streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and others, and tell you if I personally feel the cancellation was warranted.

This week, I’ve set my sights one 2020’s “Teenage Bounty Hunters.” The teen comedy-drama had only one season and was cancelled by Netflix just months after its release.

The show was released in August 2020 and was cancelled in October 2020 and followed the lives of fraternal twins Sterling (Maddie Phillips) and Blair (Anjelica Bette Fellini) Wesley near Atlanta, Georgia.

The pair find themselves in the bounty hunting trade by accident with the help of seasoned vet Bowser Simmons (Kadeem Hardison). But bounty hunting isn’t easy when you’ve got school, relationship drama and dark family secrets coming to light.

“Teenage Bounty Hunters” takes an absolutely ridiculous premise and makes you fall in love with it. Would it truly be that easy for two 17-year-olds to catch people on the run from their bail bonds person? No way! But this is a world of fiction, and Sterling falls into the stereotype of a southern gal who knows her way around a gun, so who cares?

I personally loved that this show found a way to balance teenage angst, action, comedy and heartfelt moments so well.

We see Sterling, who has grown up in an extremely Christian home — even attending a private Christian school — go on a journey of her own self discovery. At first, she’s the prim and proper young woman her mother Debbie (Virginia Williams) and father Anderson (Mackenzie Astin) want her to be and in a committed relationship with first-love Luke Creswell (Spencer House). As the season progresses, Sterling comes to realize the cookie cutter life with Luke isn’t what she wanted, and instead discovers she harbors feelings for her “enemy” April Stevens (Devon Hales).

Meanwhile, Blair — the smart mouth twin with rebel tendancies — is also trying to figure out where she fits in the world. All while attempting to keep her newfound love interest, Miles Taylor (Myles Evans), away from her bounty hunting secret. Oh, and she’s trying to uncover some twisted secrets from their mom’s past too. Because why would balancing school and bounty hunting be enough?

The dynamic between the pair is, of course, the center of this show. Phillips and Bette Fellini really have sisterhood down to a science and it’s great to watch. Especially when they use their “twin communication” to talk without truly openning their mouths.

And the bonds they form with Bowser, who’s attempted to close himself off from others, is really sweet. By the end of the season he really becomes a solid part of their lives, and a great mentor who shows up when he’s needed.

“Teenage Bounty Hunters” is truly a fun show with a unique concept. And I’ll forever be annoyed by Netflix for deciding to cancel it — especially given the giant cliff hanger that you’re left with.

In my opinion, shows should at least be given one more season to wrap things up before cancellations. And “Teenage Bounty Hunters” deserved one.

What’s crazy is that it received some pretty high ratings — including a 7.6/10 on IMDB and and 94 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Netflix also didn’t choose to comment on the cancellation either.

If you’re okay with being left on a cliff hanger, I’d totally recommend watching it. It’s rated TV-MA for violence and some sexual situations.

So, given the option to binge or bust, “Teenage Bounty Hunters” falls in the binge category. Heck, I will probably watch it again before 2022 is up.

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Laura Jameson is Managing Editor of The Express.

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