3Below: Tales of Arcadia
By Ashley Moulton,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Action-packed, layered second chapter in del Toro's Arcadia.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Plots emphasizes the importance of family and shows a great brother/sister relationship.
Positive Role Models
Main characters are a brother and sister who are good friends and speak about their emotions honestly with each other. Sister is a strong female character with a lot of physical aptitude and adventure, and the brother is emotionally available and kind.
Violence & Scariness
Intense fight scenes with laser-shooting guns that result in robot deaths, no gore. Main characters are often in peril, and are separated from their parents who are in limbo between life and death throughout the series.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Teenage romance includes flirting and almost-kissing.
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Moderate language like "butt" and put-downs like "geezer."
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Products & Purchases
This is part of a DreamWorks trilogy series.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that 3Below: Tales of Arcadia is the second action-packed chapter in Guillermo del Toro's "Tales of Arcadia" trilogy. Royal cyborg siblings Aja and Krel from planet Akiridion-5 travel to Earth to escape the evil General Morando. While much of the series focuses on their misguided attempts to blend in as Earthling teenagers, there are many super-intense fight scenes throughout. The violence is not realistic, as weapons shoot lasers and deaths are robots dissolving into computer code, but the main characters are often in high-stakes peril. Aja and Krel's parents die in the first episode. There is occasionally moderate language like "butt" and put-downs like "geezer," as well as mild teenage romance (flirting and almost-kissing). Aja and Krel have a good moral compass, but parents should know that there's quite a bit of scary fantasy violence in 3Below and it is definitely not appropriate for young kids.
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3Below: Tales of Arcadia
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What's the Story?
3BELOW: TALES OF ARCADIA is the second chapter in Guillermo del Toro's tween fantasy series, Tales of Arcadia. It's sandwiched between Trollhunters and Wizards, and while some plot from Trollhunters extends into this 26-episode second chapter, it's great as a stand-alone watch as well. The series starts off with a scary coup during planet Akiridion-5's coronation ceremony, leaving king-in-waiting Krel (Diego Luna, Narcos) and queen-in-waiting Aja (Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black) no choice but to flee to Earth with their bodyguard Varvatos Vex (Nick Offerman, Parks and Recreation). Their spaceship is damaged in the journey, but its AI controller Mother (Glenn Close), is still able to turn cyborgs Aja, Krel, and Varvatos into human disguises, their spaceship into a mid-century modern house, and spare robots into 1950s caricatures of perfect White suburban parents.
Aja and Krel do their best to blend into regular high school life while trying to find parts to repair the spaceship, which also may bring their murdered parents back to life. All the while, they're being pursued by the bad guy from back home, General Morando, and his robot henchmen. Can they fix their spaceship, save their parents, and get back home, before their human friends figure out who they really are?
Is It Any Good?
Coming from the mind of Guillermo del Toro, it's no surprise that 3Below is filled with fantastic storytelling and layered characters, wrapped up in an engrossing fantasy world. Kids will love the fantastical setting of Akiridion-5, and will chuckle at Aja, Krel, and Varvatos Vex's ill-fated attempts to blend into life on Earth. Aja and Krel are complex characters with good hearts, and feel very real (even if they're really cyborgs). While primarily a fantasy adventure series, it also offers some biting social commentary. One example: when Mother is deciding how she should disguise them to blend in as much as possible, she transforms the characters into three human forms that are typically invisible in society: a girl, a Latino, and a senior citizen.
The series is animated by DreamWorks, and is as visually stunning as you'd expect from a DreamWorks production. There is a fair amount of violence, which makes it not suitable for younger kids, but this great fantasy adventure series has something for tweens and grown-ups alike.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the fight scenes in 3Below. How do you feel when the good guys hurt the bad guys and the bad guys hurt the good guys? Are the action scenes too scary for you to watch? This show is pretend, but is violence ever okay in real life?
Family is really important to Aja and Krel. What sorts of things are really important to you?
Aja and Krel bring a bit of magic and fantasy to life in Arcadia Oaks. Did anything in the show spark your imagination? What secret worlds might be possible where you live? Write a story about it.
- Premiere date: December 21, 2018
- Cast: Tatiana Maslany, Diego Luna, Nick Offerman, Glenn Close
- Network: Netflix
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Topics: Adventures, Brothers and Sisters, Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models, High School, Robots, Space and Aliens
- TV rating: TV-Y7-FV
- Last updated: February 18, 2023
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