Review: Becoming Abi

Created by and co-directed by star Bolu Essien, a recent graduate joins an advertising but to succeed in her new path, she must decipher working with the difficult-to-please Bimbo howbeit, with the help of her newly found bestie, Joyce. Also starring: Juliana Olayode, Biodun Stephen, Seun Ajayi, Akah Nnani, Stan Nze, Ifeanyi Kalu, Iya Rainbow and Benita A Okojie.

When you think of modern shows reflecting women’s experiences of dating and work, they’re typically going for raw, sexual and frank but Becoming Abi keeps things family friendly. It’s an interesting change of pace for a show to take on the typical frustrations with the modern workplace in a more relaxed and scaled back way. Allowing the show to have a more fun, easy-going and even at times silly side. It also creates an overtly positive energy, the story may have its ups and downs of emotions but the overriding vibe of the show is enthusiastic and supportive.

It may not have a lot in common with shows like Insecure but it’s clear that creator and lead actor Bolu Essien is a fan, you can feel Issa Rae’s influence on the show’s style. It adds a self-reflection, power and confidence which all help to then bring a lot of charisma. The show is also full of bubbly characters with great personalities which keep the energy high. It creates a great balance of comedy and friendship with the classic workplace anxieties, particularly in a modern world. It taps into the unrealistic expectations and unreasonable deadlines, impostor syndrome, heightened sensitivity and insecurity, the struggle to find your place and more.

Bolu Essien leads the way with a very relatable and sympathetic performance as Abi. It’s more than easy to put yourself in her shoes and understand the fighting off of self-doubt and worry versus owning your abilities. One of the great things is the immediate connection with Joyce (Juliana Olayode), another great performance and highlighting the difference it makes to have someone easing your transition into a new job. The cast all bring a huge sense of humour, helping to create that perfect balance between comedy and reality, it’s lighter but not far removed from what we know.

Becoming Abi is a fun, family-friendly take on the modern workplace and all of its obstacles and friendships. Bolu Essien creates an extremely relatable and charismatic lead in Abi, being both fun and determined, struggling but pushing herself to trust her abilities. It’s entertaining, easy to watch and if you’re looking for a more grounded, fun series then this show’s the right way to go.

Verdict: ✯✯✯½ | 7/10

Coming to Netflix from 28 October

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