Netflix is bringing a reboot of everyone’s favorite group of babysitters to the streaming service Friday – a group that first found a rabid fan base in Ann M. Martin‘s book series of the same name. The series, which debuted in 1986 with Kristy’s Great Idea, follows seven best friends as they experience the ups and downs of running their own babysitting business.
This isn’t the first time the babysitters jumped from the books to the screen. Fans first got to know the babysitters outside of the books in the ‘90s thanks to a 13-episode TV show as well as a feature film a few years later.
Indeed, the enduring legacy of The Baby-Sitters Club is more than just a paperback series for young readers. It’s a world all its own that has built a cult following over more than 100 books. Dedicated fans have come to know the characters and backstory practically by heart. There’s Kristy, whose bossy leadership skills helped The Baby-Sitters Club become the go-to sitting service in fictional Stoneybrook, Connecticut. Through their nonstop adventures, readers saw themselves in the characters. Some were artistic like Claudia. Some were shy and reserved like Mary Anne, while others were more outgoing like cool, California-bred Dawn. And still others loved all things fashion like Stacey, books like Mallory or ballet like Jessi.
Growing up, I was a carbon copy of Mary Anne. I remember the colorful books with the iconic block lettering on the cover. The series meant a chance to bond with my mom every night, as I’d huddle under the covers and listen in wonder as she read each book aloud. It also meant a chance to bond with my father as he’d spend time with me at the library, helping me reach the Baby-Sitters Club books and listen as I carefully debated the merits of each one as I tried to decide which one to check out next.
These books weren’t just something fun to read to pass the time. They were fun, yes, but they also showed me a world I could immerse myself in. For the first time, I felt like I was part of something – a cool group of amazing, diverse young women who were making a difference, whose lives I felt invested in and who I aspired to be like. The characters may have been fiction, but it all felt very real to me.
That’s exactly what made the series so beautiful and relatable: No one in the group was the same, and there was a character for every personality type. The girls were diverse, unique and true individuals, and they each brought something essential to the club and helped make it successful. They were all allowed to be different and those differences were celebrated; there wasn’t any pressure to conform and each book — and TV episode and movie — was a true celebration of being who you are and the joys of having a group of friends who accepted you and loved you unconditionally.
Maybe that’s why the series has never felt old or dated. There’s a certain timeless quality that has always made it feel fresh, as if you could plop these characters in any time period and it would still be relevant. The books were such a defining part of my childhood and the lessons they teach — lessons in friendship, life and even entrepreneurship — are just as relevant in 2020. Not to mention, a series aimed at young women is needed now more than ever — young readers need these sorts of role models in their life.
SPOILER ALERT: Scroll down to see a throwback photo of me in the hospital with a BSC book in my hand. Naturally, I’m smiling!
After all, these are the characters my generation fell in love with and I’m so excited that a whole new generation will meet thanks to the reboot!
The upcoming 10-episode reboot is being billed as a live-action that will see the friends, presumably, as the same middle schoolers they were in the books, but in modern day. It’ll be interesting to see how the babysitters’ lives are different in the age of social media and iPhones. Will they take their business online? Will they have an app? Will fashionista Stacey have an Instagram following or blog?
The babysitters are also activists: Our world is imploding right now, but it’s the young people who are leading the charge for change. I think Kristy and friends would be right there with protesters and activists — maybe even organizing a fundraiser or livestream to raise awareness!
The show tackles modern issues: This one looks like it’s going to happen, seeing as how both Mary Anne and Dawn are played by actresses of color and Dawn’s father is gay. Also, look for a transgender storyline, which is incredibly important in 2020. One more hope I have? That they take on the patriarchy!
They club goes digital: I’d love to see the club optimize for the web — I’m thinking an app, website, maybe online scheduling so busy parents can book babysitters 24/7 instead of just during the club meeting. Although, those club meetings were legendary! Who can forget Dues Day??
Stacey has an Instagram, complete with #OOTD: That stands for Outfit of the Day for those not in the know. And we all know that Stacey is the resident fashionista of the group, so I can see her having a huge following and doing tones of cool street-style shoots!!
Claudia has an Etsy shop: Remember how Claudia is the artistic one? In the ’90s TV series, there was an entire episode all about the cool jewelry she made, so I can see her as a mini mogul with her very own online store. Wouldn’t that be cool??
The possibilities are endless, as is the potential to tackle even more issues real-life teens are facing today, like bullying and mental health. Because at its core, the series is a reflection of its readers. It’s a snapshot of who they are and where they’re going.
Perhaps my friend Rosemary captured the magic best, “I think at its core, the BSC books tell the story of a group of young women who are navigating a time that can be really hard. It tells the story of strong female friendships, being responsible, dealing with conflicts, and finding your place in the world.”
And that is something worth celebrating!
P.S. If you’re as pumped as I am, check out the awesome trailer!! It will certainly get you in the mood to binge-watch The Baby-Sitters Club reboot this weekend!
P.P.S. How cool is it that they recreated the cover of the first book on the series poster?!?!?