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We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

TV Series Review

Every camp has its queen.

Well, that may not be strictly true. It’s not in the bylaws or anything. But most summer camps—especially those that cater to high school kids—tend to be divvied up between the in-crowd and the outcasts. The camp’s ruling elite are not so much chosen as assumed, claiming the throne by some weird alchemy of charisma, confidence and (what might seem to some) divine proclamation.

The camp on Peregrine Island is no different, really—or, so Mia thinks. Everywhere the girl’s gone, she’s been at the top of the teen heap. She’s the queen bee, honey. It’s her world, and everyone else this side of a Kardashian sister is a mere drone in her hive. Why would Peregrine Island be any different?

But it is different. Very different. And for that, Mia has Amber to thank.

Amber’s Waves of Pain

Mia has competition for the throne in this camp. Amber is the red queen to Mia’s white—a beautiful-but-ruthless claimant whose power over people seems to go beyond the typical mean-girl authority. Why, in the space of one Peregrine day, Amber persuades Mia’s freshly minted BFF (Kayleigh) to switch sides, commandeers Mia’s secret party (and, in a nifty trick, doesn't even invite her) and convinces a good chunk of the camp that Mia is outright bonkers. Soon, Amber’s making the moves on Dev, Mia’s boyfriend. Or, at least, on the guy that Mia would like to be her boyfriend.

But Amber’s just getting warmed up. Her powers aren’t confined to just people, after all. Indeed, the whole island seems in her thrall. Only Mia sees the sort of person Amber really is. But she can’t fathom what she is—or why. Not without a little help.

But on the island, Amber’s authority seems absolute. God save this queen? Hardly seems necessary in this case. The question is will someone—or something—save Mia, before it’s too late?

Off With Her Head?

The A List—originally a BBC show that migrated to Netflix—feels like a British mashup between Mean Girls and Lost: A teen-girl power struggle with some extra supernatural horsepower.

Amber’s trouble, all right: Without giving too much away, she and the island have a special, and somewhat lethal, connection.

But is the show trouble, too? If you’ve been following teen dramas at all these days, you know “trouble” is a difficult threshold to define.

It’s certainly not as troubling as, say, HBO’s Euphoria, a cesspool that makes The A List look like—well, like summer camp. The show’s rated TV-PG, and for the most part it seems to fit within that rating. It’s perilous at times, but not particularly violent: Most of the warfare we see is strictly of the psychological variety. And while Peregrine is the scene of teen romance and intrigue, the show avoids suggestive or sensual situations. To top it off, the first episode's language is practically pristine.

But like summer camp, The A-List still comes with a few cautions. While we don’t see the sort of overt skin and sexual content that we might in, say, 13 Reasons Why, this is still a teen drama made in the 21st century. We can expect to see some tender and perhaps even titillating moments between characters, and one character is described in other media as “genderqueer.” And as teens at a largely adult-free summer camp, plenty of them bend and break the rules (and treat the few youthful counselors without much respect).

And while we’re unlikely to see copious levels blood and gore here, some serious trauma filters into the story’s main mystery—as does a heavy dose of supernatural intrigue. There’s almost a nature-spirit vibe at work here, complete with a critical Midsummer-honoring party. Communing with nature and controlling minds takes on some seriously literal connotations.

Like Lost, there’s perhaps some question as to where the island’s strange vibe comes from, but it can all feel rather pagan at times.

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Episode Reviews

Aug. 30, 2019: "Here She Is at Last"



Readability Age Range



Lisa Ambalavanar as Mia; Ellie Duckles as Amber; Rosie Dwyer as Alex; Jacob Dudman as Dev; Micheal Ward as Brendan; Cian Barry as Dave; Nneka Okoye as Mags; Jack Kane as Zac; Georgina Sadler as Petal; Benjamin Nugent as Harry; Eleanor Bennett as Jenna; Savannah Baker as Kayleigh; Indianna Ryan as Midge






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Paul Asay

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