There’s something oddly Indiana Jones-esque about Ridley Jones, the six-year-old titular character of the new Netflix animated show for preschoolers. It could be her adventures at the museum in which she resides with her mother and grandmother. It could be her precociousness, tenacity, and desire to do the right thing. Or, it could be her brown fedora.
Keeping the exhibits safe takes a real hero, especially when the lights go out and the exhibits come to life! No matter the adventure — from Egyptian mummies or a missing necklace to stampeding elephants — Ridley discovers that being a good protector and leader is about finding common ground and respecting others, no matter what our differences might be.
Ridley Jones Trailer
Ridley Jones’ creator Chris Nee is no stranger to young, strong female leads. Her previous work includes the hugely popular Doc McStuffins, about a young African American girl with career aspirations of becoming a doctor. McStuffins’ dreams inspired fans to view medicine as an option.
At her core, Nee strives to create content that both inspires and represents the audiences that watch it. “Hopefully, girls are going to be excited about it because they might see a version of themselves they’ve never seen before, something aspirational,” said Nee of her latest offering. “But boys will hopefully want to watch as well, and get to experience what it is to be totally invested in a girl-led show. I think that’s important.”
Nee was intentional with creating a female character who leads an adventure-based show. “Girls have not really gotten to be the action-adventure leads of shows,” Nee said. “It felt really different to give Ridley that journey.”
Nee claims she is a “huge“ fan of old adventure movies, including Goonies, Star Wars, and of course Indiana Jones. Certainly, Ridley’s last name and flattering headwear are a “tip of the hat” to her male predecessors.
Iara Nemirovsky voices Ridley, part of an impressive cast that includes Blythe Danner, Laraine Newman, Sutton Foster, Jane Lynch, and Bob Bergen.
An LGBTQ character is also featured on the show in the form of a friendly, nonbinary bison named Fred, voiced by Ezra Menas, who was most recently seen playing another nonbinary character in the Pride episode of Madagascar, A Little Wild on Peacock and Hulu. In the first episode, Ridley asks Peaches the monkey if Fred is “a she or a he?”
“I don’t know. They’re just a Fred,” replies Peaches.
“Cool,” says Ridley, and the action resumes. Nonbinary actor Menas was cast to give the character authenticity.
Nee said she’s determined to push the boundaries of representation by including unprecedented rare characters in a show for preschoolers. “Like so many of my shows, this world is a perfect canvas upon which to create a community of oddball characters and model what it means to take care of each other, even if you aren’t from the same era of time or wing of the museum,” she said. “With music, comedy, heart and a true heroine’s story, Ridley Jones is a worthy successor to Doc McStuffins and Vampirina. Can’t wait for you to meet her!”
The six-episode series Ridley Jones debuts July 13, on Netflix.