More than a year after the series finale of Netflix’s On My Block teased a new “core four,” the teen dramedy’s spinoff, Freeridge, is ready to make a name for itself.
Freeridge, premiering on February 2, shares much of its predecessor’s DNA — and its creators and a few of its actors, too — but strikes out a new story involving a curse that haunts the lead characters.
In case you didn’t see On My Block or didn’t watch all of its four seasons, don’t have a Jamal-like meltdown — Freeridge stands on its own. The two shows do, however, have intriguing connections, as you’ll see below…
The two shows have different “core fours”
On My Block followed four teenagers — Monse (Sierra Capri), Ruby (Jason Genao), Jamal (Brett Gray), and Cesar (Diego Tinoco) — and later five — with the addition of Jasmine (Jessica Marie Garcia) — as they navigated the joys and agonies of high school and got themselves ensnared in their neighborhood’s gang warfare.
Freeridge, though, focuses on a new quartet of adolescents — sisters Gloria (Keyla Monterroso Mejia) and Ines (Bryana Salaz) and their friends Cam (Tenzing Norgay Trainor) and Demi (Ciara Riley Wilson) — who had a cameo in the On My Block series finale.
“Fans should know that the new core four of Freeridge don’t step into the shoes of our original crew. They step into their own shoes, right alongside the legacy of the kids who came before them,” On My Block and Freeridge co-creator Lauren Iungerich explained recently on Netflix’s Tudum blog. “Through the lens of this new group of friends, we’ll see Freeridge as we know it and also explore a Freeridge we haven’t seen before. Where On My Block was driven by the boys, Freeridge is being driven by the girls.”
Some of the On My Block cast is back, though
Iungerich said that “some of our On My Block family is returning” for Freeridge. Peggy Blow, who played Abuelita on the original show, is back for more on Freeridge, for example, with a role on the show that the actress herself pitched. Plus, Netflix has already revealed that On My Block fans will see more of Ruby’s parents — Ruben (Eric Neil Gutierrez) and Geny (Paula Garcés) — and Jamal’s — Dwayne (Eme Ikwuakor) and Fran (Raushanah Simmons) — on the new show.
On My Block had one big mystery…
Led by Jamal’s fixation, the core four of On My Block scoured Freeridge for the legendary RollerWorld money: $250,000 in stolen cash that Santos gang members hid somewhere in the neighborhood. As the series progressed — spoiler alert! — the Freeridge friends found that quarter-mil and then lost track of it… until getting a treasure map from Abuelita in the series finale.
Expect Freeridge to set up a head-scratcher or two as well. “Both shows rely heavily on mystery to drive the story. And both shows have series-long mythologies,” Iungerich said.
…and a little magic
In On My Block, the core four came into contact with ex-Santos gang member Chivo Ramirez (Emilio Rivera), who had a collection of garden gnomes as his “friends.” As in, he talked to those gnomes, and the gnomes presumably talked back. The little figurines also had a peculiar penchant for popping up in unlikely places.
And it sounds like Freeridge is maintaining On My Block’s magical realism: According to the new show’s logline, the four Freeridge leads “may or may not have unleashed a deadly curse, kicking off an unforgettable adventure.”
You don’t need to watch On My Block before Freeridge…
“New viewers can enjoy the show as is,” Iungerich observed. “We truly hope our On My Block audience connects with this new crew, and we also hope that new fans of the franchise will want to check out where the world started with On My Block. We’re hoping that in success, Freeridge might give some new life to our beloved firstborn Freeridge-set show.
…but you might want to anyway
Sounds like there are On My Block Easter eggs aplenty in Freeridge. “We have laid in lots of On My Block insider nuggets for the die-hard fans,” Iungerich told Tudum. “I’m a terrible tease, so instead I’ll just say there’s a lot of connective tissue between On My Block and Freeridge. For the die-hard fans of On My Block who miss the show — we see you.”
Freeridge, Series Premiere, Thursday, February 2, Netflix