What I thought about: The Expanding Universe of Ashley Garcia

A light-weight family sitcom, this show has few surprises and isn’t all that funny. But a decent set of characters kept me watching.

Science smarts meets social smarts

What’s it about?
Ashley is a teenage genius. She already has a PhD, and has just secured a job working at the JPL (A NASA facility). To get there, she has to move out of her very reluctant mother’s house to live with her uncle, Victor, a retired professional American Football player and present-day school coach.

Let me introduce some other cast members: Brooke, Ashley’s childhood best friend (a typical teenager, sans PhD, but socially savvy). Stick, the football team’s equipment manager (a slightly awkward, slightly nerdy kid). And Tad, the team captain (and stereotypical jock character).

Ashley’s excited to start her job, but she’s also looking forward to catching up with a few lost bits of childhood that she sacrificed for her studies. She’s never had a group of girl friends before, she’s never kissed a guy, you get the idea.

What do I like about it?
The cast are decent, and it’s interesting to see how teenage sitcoms have changed since the days of Drake and Josh and Suite Life. There’s obviously more of a focus on Instagram and other social media, which the show handles quite well.

Victor, the uncle, is a funny character. He totally forgot his niece was was coming, and has had to quickly adapt from his one-night-stand adventures into becoming a responsible adult, looking after Ashley as she spends late nights out partying with her friends.

You do also get attached to some of the plot, and, no surprises, it’s got to do with the characters’ respective love interests.

What do I not like about it?
If it sounds like this review is a little flat, that’s because the show is, too. None of the jokes are laugh-out-loud funny, and nothing here is particularly deep. In that regard, it is kinda boring.

Remember this is a family sitcom and stuff needs to be kept at surface level a lot of the time.

Worth a watch?
I’ll be honest, I started watching this primarily because it’s shot in Dolby Vision and I just got a compatible TV. For those interested, HDR really shines in this show, with amazing specular highlights in lights, eyeballs, and jewellery.

You probably shouldn’t watch this show unless you like the premise and want something a bit light and family-oriented to stick on.

By the way…

  • This is another one of Netflix’s primarily Latinx-led shows. I haven’t found a bad one so far.
  • Wikipedia says the show was green-lit for 16 episode, but this season only has 8. Second season incoming?