School Spirits Season 1 Review – a crafty drama that keeps you guessing

By Ricky Valero
Published: March 6, 2023 (Last updated: July 4, 2023)
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School Spirits might have some of the similar beats of shows in this genre, but Peyton List carries it to a level worth binging.

We review the 2023 Paramount+ series School Spirits Season 1, which does not contain spoilers.

School Spirits is an eight-episode drama series on Paramount+ based on a book set to come out in late 2023. The story follows a teenager stuck in the afterlife, trying to figure out how she got there. The show explores relationships, love, and what it would be like if we could handle our deaths.

School Spirits (2023) Season 1 Review and Plot Summary

School Spirits follows Maddie, a teenager who realizes she is stuck in the afterlife without knowing how she got there. So she begins investigating with other students in the afterlife to figure out how she was murdered. The series was created by Nate and Megan Trinrud and stars Peyton List in the lead role of Maddie.

When we first meet Maddie, she watches her principal and school gather to discuss her disappearance. Shortly after, things start to return to normal with a few select people, including her best friend Nicole and Simon refusing to give up on what happened. As each episode dives further into what happened, Maddie begins to explore things that she and her fellow afterlife counterparts didn’t know they could explore.

The show’s creators did the one crucial thing you need to do with a new series, reel you in with the pilot. It might take you a few minutes to catch onto what is happening, but once that episode ends, you are all in. They set the tone early for what we will see out of Maddie but also open this massive door at the end of the episode that has your jaw on the floor.

More on the writers, they sometimes had predictable moments of clarity that frustrated you. Then, they hit you with a big twist, and you are reeled back in. The story they created is far from perfect, but it’s worth investing in. The afterlife has been explored in many different ways over the years, but creatively using it to have the missing person attempt to figure out who she got there was one that isn’t explored often. I applaud the writing team for their work here.

What’s a good story without a good performance? Of course, there are a few disposable performances in this, but Peyton List hits a home run as Maddie. List broke onto the scene in 2008 in 27 Dresses when she was ten years old, and she went down the Disney path and officially got people’s attention in Cobra Kai. While she has been at the forefront of many shows, this one is her baby. We see her carry the show with a sincere and emotional performance that typically doesn’t come from this genre. The show doesn’t work without this committed performance by List.

Is School Spirits season 1 good?

Yes. Any fears about School Spirits being a teenage-only drama series should be ignored. You will be hooked on this show from the pilot episode and never look back.

I wish I could’ve binged it all in one sitting because it’s good. It’s a strong drama led by a strong performance, and I think audiences will love this one.

What did you think of the 2023 series School Spirits Season 1? Comment below.

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