Back to 15 is a series that could easily have been a film, so it certainly has an air of overindulgence.
This review of Netflix’s Back to 15 season 1 does not contain spoilers.
Pop culture has frequently enjoyed the Big concept. It’s difficult to imagine who has done it better than Tom Hanks, but TV and film continue to find ways to apply this concept to numerous narratives but with a twist. Back to 15 is a series that could easily have been a film, so it certainly has an air of overindulgence. However, the Brazillian series has an earnest attempt to place full-grown adults back to their teenage selves.
The main character, Anita, is a thirty-somethings adult that is enduring her sister’s wedding with plenty of complexities. She appears out of touch with life, and confrontations are tense and impactful. When Anita learns she can go back in time and be the young teenager she was, she recognizes that things have changed when she returns to the present in adult form. The series witnesses the character do this transition multiple times, and it becomes an opportunity more than a burden.
Back to 15 becomes a typical teen drama, in all honesty. While the concept of moving back in time is always a fascinating watch, the story becomes engrossed with teenage love, confronting the bullies, and rekindling parent relationships. The series spends time attempting to make this a multi-character set-up, but just focusing on Anita should have been good enough. I’m not sure why the writers tried to cram in so much character development in six episodes. It feels like a rehashed and lazy storyline.
And I think that’s where the issue truly lies. The premise is scoped for a film, not an intrinsic TV series. Audiences familiar with the plot will wonder why it’s stretched into a six-chapter structure. Half of the things learned in this series meet a dead end anyway, and it’s only the end goal that audiences are genuinely concerned about.
What makes the entire experience surprising is that Back to 15 flirts with the idea of a sequel season by the end, but I’m confident that audiences will not be desperately demanding a second season. I’ve been wrong many times, though, so only time will tell.
What do you think of Netflix’s Back to 15 season 1? Comment below.