Disney’s Renegade Nell offers up swashbuckling action with a magical twist – and really, what’s not to love?

The new Disney+ series follows outlaw Nell Jackson (Louisa Harland), who unexpectedly rises to infamy in 18th century England after she’s framed for murder. As Nell goes on the run and tries to clear her name, magical spirit Billy Blind grants her extraordinary powers . Soon, Nell realizes her destiny is bigger than she ever imagined.

When Disney first announced Renegade Nell was first announced, seeing BAFTA winner Sally Wainwright at the helm surprised me. Happy Valley and Gentleman Jack, while great shows, don’t exactly scream “Disney kids programming”. But after watching the series, Wainwright was undoubtedly a great choice; the episodes and overall season are well-paced and injected with the kind of stakes and emotional gravitas needed to hold everything together.

Renegade Nell also delivers the right tone and maturity for the older kid/young teen demographic, which can be difficult to capture correctly. While undoubtedly magical, the show doesn’t come across as too cutesy or childish. It’s not gruesome or gratuitous in its action violence, but it doesn’t shy away from real consequences, either. (“Did they just SHOOT that child?!” I exclaimed at one point.) The balance is definitely right here.

It’s also just a lot of fun, with plenty of laughs and great action sequences. Billy Blind (Nick Mohammed) can imbue Nell with superhero-like powers. Her increased strength, speed, and endurance let her flip over carriages, throw grown men across the room, and catch bullets in mid-air. With several of Nell’s big action sequences set to an intense chanting soundtrack, I’m reminded of a less campy Xena Warrior Princess, by way of Robin Hood. The action sequences are fun and exciting, and use their supernatural elements well.

As the lead, Harland brings Nell to life beautifully. As Nell goes on the run, she often needs to chameleon her way through different scenarios. Harland proves she’s up to the task, able to pull off rough-and-tumble outlaw, protective older sister, working-class-woman-pretending-to-be-an-aristocrat, supernaturally powered action hero, and more as Nell’s story shifts throughout the series. And though Nell as a character prefers to keep her emotions close to her chest, Harland always conveys them easily to the audience. I had really only seen Harland in Derry Girls previously (which I love), but after Renegade Nell I am definitely looking forward to seeing what she does next.

Overall, Renegade Nell is simply a great time! I loved the action, the costuming, the humor, and the little doses of magic sprinkled throughout. Harland’s Nell Jackson is sure to capture hearts. I won’t be surprised if Disney decides to send her on new adventures in the future, since these are so fun and charming.

Renegade Nell debuts on Disney+ March 29.

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