The world of television, cinema, and now streaming platform is overcrowded with re-adaptations and reboots, who try and sail through on the nostalgia associated with the original. Netflix’s latest tween drama The Baby-Sitters Club, an adaptation of Ann M. Martin’s popular book series from the 90s could have easily done the same, but it instead opts to update itself, retaining the original while imbuing it with the ‘now’, ensuring that it is a scrumptious treat for all ages and generations.
Ann M. Martin’s book series debuted in 1986, it was an era before the Internet or smartphones reigned the world, and went on for 14 glorious years- to date more than 180 million of her series have been sold worldwide in 20 languages. Yep, if you haven’t been a crazy fan yourself, this is factual proof for you to decode the fanfare The Baby-Sitters Club novels enjoy even today.
And thankfully, the 10-episode adaptation of the series by Netflix not only amazingly transfers the warmth and wonder of the books to its beautiful plot but given the expertise of ace show creator Rachel Shukert and executive producer/director Lucia Aniello, Netflix’s The Baby-Sitters Club fits like a perfect jigsaw puzzle in the present times.
The magic of the original story has been retained while transitioning it to modern era, while not compromising on its intrinsic concepts- the characters have flaws, they commit mistakes, and unlike other rebellious teen shows out there, these tweens learn from their shortcomings. The nods to 90s nostalgia are hidden in subtle bits like Claudia’s transparent landline phone that her artistic mind instantly found attractive on the shopping website Etsy. The humor quotient steadily inches higher as we move further into the series. All in all, it would be very surprising to find an age group that is not entertained by The Baby-Sitters Club.
For those who are new to the fictional town of Stoneybrook, The Baby-Sitters Club follows a group of tweens with entrepreneurial ambitions—Kristy (Sophie Grace), Claudia (Momona Tamada), Mary Anne (Malia Baker), and Stacey (Shay Rudolph) begin their own babysitting club to earn some pocket money. Dawn Schafer (Xochitl Gomez), a brave but laid-back teen, who is the last one to join the club.
Every character has its own issues and is brilliantly played by their respective actresses. Grace effortlessly pull off Kristy, an assertive and often domineering young tween with a penchant for bossing those around her, who started the club to control at least one thing in her life as her single mother, Elizabeth (a delightful Alicia Silverstone) is off to marry another guy.
Equally, Claudia Kishi as Tamada is an absolute darling as she navigate life around her overbearing parents who overlooks her talents. Malia Baker’s Mary Ann’s interactions with her dad are heartfelt as she decodes the core reason behind her father’s overprotectiveness. Each character goes through their own passage of inner growth through conflicts- whether it is their own perception, societal constructs, gender stereotypes, etc.
Often book adaptation tends to overlook the fact that many of its viewers haven’t ruffled through the origin’s pages, but that’s not the case with The Baby-Sitters Club ‘cause there is not a single moment where you feel alienated from the characters- you bond with them and learn to love and adore them even if you haven’t ever picked up a copy of the books.