What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this sci-fi/adventure cartoon is better suited for tweens than it is for kids due to a good deal of violence (guns, knives, and large explosions, for instance) with little real-world consequence and plenty of monsters of all shapes and sizes. What’s more, the intricacies of Rex’s struggles with his own identity and good decision-making are too weighty for kids to grasp. That said, the show is a rare find for tweens, blending a mature storyline about a teen’s inner battle between his sense of responsibility and his very different personal desires with an enticing plot of mystery and adventure.
What's the story?
In a recent global accident, Earth was infected by microscopic machines called nanites, which link with humans’ DNA and can turn their hosts into dangerous monsters. Rex (voiced by Daryl Sabara) was no exception, but inexplicably this remarkable 15-year-old amnesiac is able to control his nanites and transform his body at will, making him the secret weapon in the Providence agency’s battle against the mutant creatures, called Exponentially Variegated Organisms, or E.V.O.s for short. Together with his Providence team – Dr. Holiday (Grey DeLisle), Agent Six (Wally Kurth), and his chimpanzee friend, Bobo Haha (John DiMaggio) – and “regular” pal, Noah (Fred Savage), Rex must stare down evil in all forms while he searches for the truth to his past.
Is it any good?
If your tweens (especially boys) think they’re too old for cartoons, GENERATOR REX is up to the challenge of changing their minds. This enjoyable show is full of adventure in an ongoing battle of good vs. evil, and the subplot surrounding Rex’s questions about his past is a dangling-carrot mystery that will retain the interest of this more mature audience. True, much of the cartoon is doused in violent exchanges between Rex and a host of mutants, but even here the show’s thoughtfulness is apparent, as rather than killing the monsters, Rex uses his powers to restore their humanity.
This content is all well and good for the tween set, but it’s the very stuff that makes this an iffy choice for younger kids. An ever-changing cast of monsters, recurring villains with truly evil intentions, inner struggles with emotion, and an uncertain self-image may raise more questions than answers for youngsters, so better save this one until the littlest ones have gone to bed.
Explore, discuss, enjoy
Families can discuss responsibility. Can you relate to Rex’s frustration over having responsibility thrust upon him? How does he cope with the pressure? What responsibilities weigh heaviest on you? What coping techniques do you use to manage?
Parents and tweens can talk about violence on TV. Tweens: What did you think about the violence in this show? Would you say there was too much of it, or was it OK? Did you find it realistic? Do you think it was intended to be realistic? What standards do you think should exist for violence on TV?
Tweens: How would you define “self-image?” How is your self-image influenced by people around you? Do you fall victim to the media’s messages about who you should be? If so, which ones affect you most? Why is it sometimes difficult to have a strong self-image?