It isn’t the most watchable, engaging or exciting teen show on Netflix, but Trinkets is still a solid binge prospect.
Adapted from the young adult novel of the same name by Kirsten Smith and arriving on Netflix today in a ten-episode first season, Trinkets might be the streaming giant’s next teen-drama obsession. After the success of Sex Education and now that The Society has passed us by, there’s something of a gap in the market for this kind of show, one which hones in on the challenges of growing up, forming bonds, and moving on or away from trauma.
All the teen girls at the heart of the story are dealing with trauma of one kind or another. Elodie (Brianna Hildebrand) is grieving the loss of her mother, who died in a car accident; Moe (Kiana Madeira) has an absentee father; and Tabitha (Quintessa Swindell) is well-off with a popular boyfriend, Brady (Brandon Butler), who just so happens to be an emotional abuser. The three meet at a Shoplifters Anonymous meeting; they bond over their shared need to rebel from the surface-level shape of their lives.
The problem with Trinkets is that while this rebellion and the need for it are key, it’s not very good at exploring the interiority of its characters, and thus also not very good at giving various storylines and details the appropriate weight, or communicating the extent to which the characters are affected by them. That vaguely laidback sensibility is part of the show’s appeal, of course, but it might also be what holds it back from being the kind of immediate hit that Sex Education was.
Trinkets isn’t as propulsive or flat-out enjoyable as that show, either, but then again it’s a different kind of show by design. People expecting the exact same kind of experience might find themselves disappointed by this show’s willingness to be sedate and less tightly plotted, but it also doesn’t succumb to outlandishness or silly melodrama. It operates in a comfortable emotional space, keeping its central three-way friendship of consistent importance, letting all its other aspects — some effective, some less so — sit in the margins, ready to be dealt with or ignored as necessary. It isn’t the neatest or tidiest narrative approach, but these aren’t neat or tidy people; they’re young and misunderstood and messy. Perhaps Trinkets itself reflecting that is all part of the point.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.