'Spirit Riding Free: Riding Academy' Part 2 Review: A wholesome, heartwarming story of friendship and maturity

'Riding Academy' sees the PALs continue their adventures and education at Palamino Bluffs Academy, dealing with heavier subject matter than Part 1

                            'Spirit Riding Free: Riding Academy' Part 2 Review: A wholesome, heartwarming story of friendship and maturity

Spoilers for 'Spirit Riding Free: Riding Academy' Part 2

'Spirit Riding Free: Riding Academy' is one of the most wholesome and inspiring shows on Netflix right now. It's very much the comfort food of television series, and while it's aimed at young girls, it's well-written enough to connect with viewers of all ages. As Lucky Prescott (Amber Frank), Pru Granger (Syndey Park) and Abigail Stone (Bailey Gambertoglio) continue their education at the prestigous Palomino Bluffs Riding Academy, now joined by Maricela (Darcy Rose Byrnes), we meet new characters, new challenges, and most importantly, new life lessons learned as the PALs continue to grow into mature and responsible young adults.

For fans of the orignal 'Spirit Riding Free' series and the 'Riding Academy' spinoff, the show continues to deliver heartwarming tales of Lucky and her friends, their bonds with their horses and the life lessons they learn. The second part of 'Riding Academy', however, manages to introduce some new characters, as well as deal with some much heavier topics than we saw in Part 1. It's a healthy mix of fun, education, charm, and the tackling of difficult subject matter. The PALs (short for Pru, Abigail and Lucky) deal with having Maricela join their class, learning to work as a team, fighting coastal raiders and personal crushes, the loss of a loved one and the environmental impact of oil drilling. It's a lot of ground for a show to cover, but the show has enough respect for its audience to know they're along for the ride.

In an entertainment industry that thrives on drama and conflict, it's a rare treat to watch a series filled with characters who are constantly, and genuinely supportive of each other. Lucky, Pru and Abigail may have their differences, but they come together when it counts, and they know enough about each other as friends to be able to help each other through difficult times. Whether it's Lucky's bullheaded ambition, Pru's perfectionism, or Abigail's compulsive compassion, these girls know how to rein each other in when one of them goes too far.

The show is very intelligently written. It manages to educate its lessons clearly without talking down to its audience, and a lot of research has clearly gone into what life in the country is like. It's subtly done, but the attention to detail is marvellous for a children's show. What's more, the main characters have grown through the series, and are taking on more and more responsibility as they begin planning for their future. Portions of Part 2 of 'Riding Academy' seems to be setting up the 2021 film, to provide an end to the years-long story of Lucky and her friends. It does this well, ending with a glimpse into just what Lucky, Pru and Abigail might decide what to do as they race inexorably towards adulthood.

There is laughter, hope, and inspiration a'plenty to be found in this series, and it's worth setting aside as a comfort watch on gloomy days. Even the heavier episodes of the show tackle heavy subject matter in a fun, heartwarming way - the show feels grounded. The independence and maturity of its leads are the kind of inspiration to young girls that a lot of media aims for, but falls far short of. No matter your age or gender, 'Spirit Riding Free: Riding Academy' is worth putting on to your Netflix watchlist - and there's a lot to catch up on before the movie releases.

All episodes of 'Spirit Riding Free: Riding Academy' Part 2 are now available to stream on Netflix.

Disclaimer : The views expressed in this article belong to the writer and are not necessarily shared by MEAWW.