The following review does not contain spoilers.
Trinkets is a new Netflix Original teen series that is based on the young adult book of the same name, written by Kirsten Smith. The show follows three high-schoolers played by Brianna Hildebrand, Kiana Madeira, and Quintessa Swindell, who meet through Shoplifters Anonymous and form an unlikely friendship.
Although the general plot of the show is quite typical – three teens with different backgrounds who are different social groups are thrown together through a coincidental encounter and begin to form a strong bond – the added twist of these characters all being self-described kleptomaniacs adds an interesting angle to the typical high school drama.
In the age of shows like Riverdale that seem to just throw whatever wild and ridiculous plot twists they can think of into every episode, I really appreciated Trinkets for being a more sincere and relatable high school drama.
The short duration of the episodes makes it a perfect candidate for a binge watch. With only 10 episodes of 20 to 30 minutes in length, it’s definitely a quick watch, and if you’re anything like me you’ll put the first episode on and before you know it you’ve watched the whole thing.
The best part of this show is no doubt the relationships between the three main teens: Elodie, Moe, and Tabitha. Their drive to help each other no matter the issue is incredible. On their own, these characters are well written and interesting, with their own conflicts and group of characters that orbit them. But together, these three girls shine.
Morally Grey Characters – A Personal Favorite
Something that I love and that I seemed to have picked up from books, is morally grey character traits. Characters that aren’t villains, but are also not saints. They often carry out actions seen as wrong, but have positive intentions that in the long run either benefit themselves or the world around them. Trinkets is the perfect example of having morally grey characters – these kinds of personalities add a perfect balance to a cast of characters by blurring the line between good and evil. You can appreciate their motives, but find yourself questioning whether or not you agree with their actions.
This back and forth tension between good and bad in these characters – between their shoplifting addictions and their undying support of each other – created a really great group of girls with really fantastic chemistry. It also made for a really interesting viewing experience. They are deeply flawed, but human – often hiding behind their own personal traumas, but were slowly brought out of their shells by each other.
So Where Does the Show Fall Short?
The issue with the show is that it cannot seem to decide on what it wants to focus on in terms of the conflict. The focus jumps back and forth between different conflicts that all develop as though they will be the main issue that they all must face, but then it is pushed aside for another. When you finally reach the conflict that brings them all together through a major act of revenge, the show just drops any mention of it for a few episodes, only to suddenly bring it back towards the end when the repercussions serve a purpose for the plot.
The attempt to tie all these loose ends together is only slightly successful, with plenty of questions left unexplained after the last episode. It’s not the most satisfying ending, but it does leave me hoping for a season 2.
The often shaky and questionable narrative, then, leaves me enjoying this almost out of sheer love for the characters. This show is without a doubt very heavily character-driven rather than plot-driven, where the three leads all give standout performances against the backdrop of a plot that may be lacking at times.
Should You Bother Watching?
As mentioned, Trinkets is a quick watch, if anything, it won’t take much time out of your life to watch it if it seems like something you might like. The show succeeds in avoiding any overly childish traits and cliches that teen shows often get caught up in, so much so that I often forgot these characters were in high school.
If you are usually into more realistic teen dramas, it is definitely one of the better ones I have seen recently. It’s enjoyable, easy to watch and digest, and has some really great moments. That said, though, if you prefer a show that is plot-driven, Trinkets is not the show for you.
Trinkets is available to stream on Netflix