Image by Disney

Give them hell “Renegade Nell”

Kat Rosa


Staff Writer


Set in the early 1700s, “Renegade Nell” stars Louisa Harland as Nell Jackson, a girl who finds herself as Europe’s most-wanted after being framed for a murder. With the help of Billy Blind, a spirit who lends her the superhuman ability to destroy almost anyone in battle, she goes on the run with her sisters. Meanwhile, Jacobites plot to kill the queen of England, and it appears Nell might be the only one capable of interceding. 

There is an undeniable charm to the series. Whether it be the drama or action, you’ll likely find it harder to turn off than anticipated. Regardless of how ridiculous it may feel, something urges you to continue watching. It helps that every episode ups the ante, raising the stakes higher and higher. It seems impossible to predict where it could possibly go next, and while some might find it a little too chaotic, you’d be hard pressed to find a dull moment throughout.

It appears that the show hasn’t yet decided who their target audience is. Despite being quite juvenile in its tropes and premise, some moments feel jarringly disturbing for younger audiences. Moments where they stumble upon the decayed corpses of plague victims, or even a bit of dialogue where a man calls his daughter a “trollop”, just feel out of place for a series seemingly directed at children. The tone shifts quite frequently, and brings into question just who exactly this was written for.

That being said, it’s not a dealbreaker. It’s not explicitly inappropriate or unsuitable for children, hence being a Disney+ series. While it might seem too immature for older audiences, it’s very fun if you can get past it. This all may be subject to change, as well. If the series were to get a second season, there would be lots of room for the showrunners to refine what they are trying to achieve with this show. 

The cast consists mostly of up-and-coming actors. Louisa Harland is a captivating protagonist. There’s a natural likability to her portrayal of Nell, which makes her extremely easy to root for. Alongside her is Frank Dillane (you may recognize him as young Tom Riddle in the Harry Potter films), who steals every scene as highwayman and general con Charles Deveruex. Adrian Lester is great as the antagonist Earl of Poynton – who uses wit and charm to manipulate everyone into helping his plan of killing the queen.  There’s no shortage of wonderful performances from the rest of the cast, either. 

It may be hard to get past just how truly absurd the show gets. Thus far, the logistics of Nell’s abilities aren’t explained. Billy Blind is a pixie with a mullet who can seemingly infiltrate Nell at any given moment and give her superhuman strength. Strength that includes being able to stop bullets with her own hands somehow. While there is little context to understand why or how any of this works,  it is implied that this is something for the characters to discover in the future. If you are someone concerned with logic and rationale, this might not be the best choice for you – even more so than the average fantasy series. 

If you’re looking for something fast-paced and fun, this is the show to watch. It’s extremely creative, and will leave you second guessing what will happen until the very last moment. The only thing is, you have to try and not take it so seriously. If you can do that, you’ll have a blast. 

The first season of “Renegade Nell ” can be streamed now on Disney+.