• Ai Jiang

Tiny Pretty Things Review


Tiny Pretty Things is a Netflix series that focuses on the lives of ballet dancers attending a famous and elite dance academy—the Archer School of Ballet—and the politics involved in the world of dance along with the mystery of an attempted murder that occurred at the school. While the premise of the series is ambitious, I think that it doesn't quite delve enough into the complex problems that the series tries to tackle, but only briefly scratches the surface.


The series brings to the viewers' attention the concept of systematic racism in an elitist society filled with prima donnas such as the entire Whitlaw family, who constantly try to cause the failure of others to ensure their own success. Bette Whitlaw, who offers the appearance of a hardworking and innocent character, proves to be more ill hearted than expected.


The series stresses the attempts of characters enrolled in the Archer School to overcome the oppression of the traditional ballet world, which consistently shuts them down, forcing them into the background rather than allowing them to shine as the leads of performances. These characters that do not "fit the mould" of the stereotypical ballerina struggle to prove their worth throughout the series. The struggle of the characters appears as the series attempts to challenge the marginalization of certain races and cultures in an industry that has been predominantly "white" in the past. Not only issues of racism, but the series also raises awareness concerning institutionalized sexism and toxic masculinity. Yet, the series does not effectively help break the stigma around dancers and ballerinas necessarily because it also has to focus its attention on propelling forward the narrative of the murder mystery.

Ultimately, the concept of obtaining justice is a major theme in the series, something that Neveah constantly strives to achieve. However, what I believe may have been the cause for the low rating of the series is the lacking dramatic development of the characters throughout the series that is often present in other well-performing series. However, it could be because the characters in Tiny Pretty Things are actually a much more realistic representation of humans, more specifically teenagers, and their habit of impeding their own personal growth, causing them to repeatedly make the same mistakes.


Though what stood out the most about Tiny Pretty Things is its effort to place greater emphasis on diversity and the varying experiences of those who are all seemingly the same—through the challenges that the characters face as dancers—but also completely different, through the unequal treatment that each character receives because of their background and culture. The series exposes the dark side of not only ballet, something usually thought of as whimsical, light, and beautiful, along with the dark side of life and humanity, and the temptations of resorting to acts of immorality to achieve success. However, the dancers all share one thing in common—the language of dance.


In terms of the ending of the series, it does one of two things; first, it offers the hope that the traditional world of ballet is becoming more progressive; second, it presents an ending that draws audiences in to watch the next season, but personally, the ending was much weaker than the first half of the series.