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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this animated series is based on the 1961 animated Disney classic 101 Dalmatians. The series focuses primarily on the puppies and their adventures at their new farm home, where they learn life lessons about friendship, what it means to be a good sibling, and cooperating with others.
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What's the story?
101 DALMATIANS is a continuation of Disney's well-loved 1961 animated classic (itself based on the book by Dodie Smith). Roger and Anita Dearly (voiced by Jeff Bennett and Kath Soucie) leave London behind to move to the country so that their puppies will have enough room to grow and play. Most episodes are centered on the escapades of just three of the puppies: leader Lucky (Pamela Adlon), big eater Rolly (Soucie again), and tough cookie Cadpig (also Soucie). Together with their worry-wart chicken friend Spot (Tara Strong), the pups seek out adventures and try to foil the plans of the wicked Cruella de Vil (April Winchell), who wants to take over the farm and destroy the puppies.
Is it any good?
While 101 Dalmatians retains some of the charm of the original film, and the storylines are entertaining enough, the animation style has been updated, most likely to appeal to younger, hipper viewers. That's a shame, really, because the original film appealed to many different ages, and the style change is not only unnecessary, but distracting as well. Plus, the new character of Spot seems annoyingly out of place.
Overall, 101 Dalmatians is better than other Disney spin-off series -- it's cute and entertaining enough for younger kids. But fans of the film would be much better re-watching the original (and perhaps the live-action version, too) to get their speckled-puppy fill.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the responsibilities of raising a pet (the popularity of the movie created a high demand for Dalmatian puppies among kids). Do kids think they would be able to maintain enthusiasm for their pet? Would they be responsible for feeding, brushing, playing and walking it? What kind of commitment is it to raise a pet, particularly a dog?
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