Ray William Johnson’s Scripted Series Works

Review: Riley Rewind is relatable, thought provoking

Editor's Note: VideoWatch frequently reviews Web series. And from time to time we'll review shows aimed at tweens and teens—i.e. shows way outside our demo, such as Riley Rewind. So occasionally, we turn to real high schooler Anna McIntyre to get her take. Here are Anna's thoughts on the show, an original production from popular YouTuber Ray William Johnson:

Riley Rewind is a new Web series focusing on Riley, a teenager in high school with the ability to time travel.  Riley was adopted as a child and does not know how she received this special power, but it's the kind of power comes with some great responsibility.  Yes, every teen wishes they would have some sort of superpower like flying or being able to read minds, but as in real life, not everything works out the way we may expect.

The first time viewers see Riley rewind time is when she is asking the cutest boy in school to prom.  Unfortunately, every single time he says no. And on the last try, Riley’s nose begins to bleed. 

Throughout the shows Riley is narrating her own life and at this point tells viewers that too much time travel damages her own body. So in each situation Riley must decide if trying to fix something is worth hurting herself more.

The only person Riley has told about her power is her friend Jay.  At one point, when another boy asks Jay to prom, he asks Riley not to rewind and ruin his moment.  However, when Riley learns of a girl at their school named Angela who committed suicide, she decides she has to rewind time to try and save her.

Each time Riley rewinds she becomes closer and closer to Angela, but the outcome is always the same.  The only thing that changes is that Jay is now dateless for the prom.  What was at first seemed like a lighthearted show now takes a more intense and disturbing turn, as viewers see Angela’s feet hang still in her room over and over again.

This show, which originally debuted on Facebook, is a great example of the phrase “be careful what you wish for.”  No matter how cool Riley’s power may seem, it comes with more responsibility than imagined.  She is constantly feeling the need to go back into the past and change it, but each time the outcome is the same.  In this way, the show is very relatable because it is a sort of parallel to reality: no matter what we do, the past can never be changed. 

At one point Jay even says, “You can rewind time, but you can’t change the inevitable.”  I think it is important for teenagers to learn this lesson because the one thing we can change is the future which is affected by most decisions we make in the present.