PAPER GIRLS. “Growing Pains.” Amazon Prime Video, 29, July 2022 (Season 1, Episode 1). Camryn Jones as Tiff Quilkin, an African American girl with a high intellect; Riley Lai Nelet as Erin Tieng, a Chinese American girl on her first day delivering newspapers; Sofia Rosinsky as Mac Coyle, a tomboy who lives in the outskirts of Stony Stream [a suburb of Cleveland]; Fina Strazza as KJ Brandman, a Jewish American girl whose family owns several businesses in Stony Stream. [Thanks to Wikipedia for the preceding descriptions.] Based on the comic book series of the same title written by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Cliff Chiang (Image, 2015-19).

   The first episode of this SF-nal time-traveling series begins early on the morning of November 1, 1988, with four pre-teen girls working together on their respective newspaper delivery routes (on bicycle) as a means of protection from older boys who continually harass them.

   This night is different, though. The sky suddenly turns pink and no one is seen on the street. Have the Russians invaded?

   It’s actually worse than that. It takes them the whole episode to realize it, but somehow they’ve landed in the year 2019, where they meet the older version of one of them. They have also escaped from being caught in the crossfire war between two warring factions … of what, it is too early for them to tell, nor of course does the viewer have any idea where the series is going from here.

   It’s all very effectively done, and for a small group of four main leads, probably unknown to everyone watching, the acting and dialogue is as top notch as it could possibly be. I’ll probably bail out at this point, though. I tend to do that with recent SF on TV that I start and find myself entertained but with no desire to continue any farther. I suppose it’s me, and I’m not sure why. This is a series that seems to have become quite popular in its short run so far.