Aim High

 
First-ever "social series" raises online privacy issues.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The series raises questions about online privacy with its first-ever integrated style that allows viewers to see their own photos and text imbedded in the show's scenes through their Facebook profile. The show itself offers some so-so examples of friendship and teamwork.

Positive role models

Nick risks his own life for the greater good, embarking on dangerous missions to protect the safety of the world's citizens. He's courageous and a quick thinker who uses the skills he possesses to his advantage. On the downside, adults are seen is a slightly less favorable light, often easily succumbing to teens and, in one case, hinting at desire for a physical relationship with a student.

Violence

Shoot-outs, murder, hand-to-hand combat, and perilous situations that threaten the hero's life are commonplace. Weapons include guns and knives. All is treated lightly.

Sex

Flirting among teens as well as suggestive dialogue from an attractive teacher directed at one of her high school students. Teens talk about their peers in sexy terms like "hot." Mentions of "finger-banging" and an implication of masturbation.

Language

Occasional use of words like "ass."

Consumerism

The series is only available to watch online, and it's got ties to Facebook, through which viewers can opt to watch "personalized" episodes that incorporate photos of them and their Facebook friends into select scenes. Some product placement within the show -- including Nos energy drink, and references to YouTube and Twitter.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this groundbreaking show made up of 10-minute-long episodes integrates TV and social media in a remarkable way, allowing fans to personalize the online episodes with their own text and pictures by viewing the series through their Facebook page. Sheer novelty is bound to draw Internet-savvy teens to this unique video application, and repeat visits will allow them to see their own lines of text and photos of themselves and their friends dropped into the background in select scenes throughout each episode. The show's content is on par with its target teen audience (shoot-outs and murder, but little blood, occasional language like "ass," and some flirting and sexual references, but limited physical contact), but this marriage between entertainment and social media complicates the issues of Internet privacy, since viewers give the show access to not only their Facebook information but their friends' as well.

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What's the story?

Nick Green (Jason Rathbone) is a typical high school student who dreads his classes; loathes his social nemesis, Derek (Jonathan McDaniel); and pines after Amanda (Aimee Teegarden), his untouchable dream girl who's practically betrothed to Derek. But all that changes when the bell rings, transforming Nick into his alter-ego, a highly skilled government agent deployed on covert missions throughout the world. Only his best friend, Marcus (Johnny Pemberton), knows Nick's secret, but keeping it under wraps from his fellow students and teachers can be a challenge. He can drop bad guys like flies and put a stop to corruption with a single blow, but at the end of the day, none of that makes him any more successful in the physics classroom.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

AIM HIGH is on the fast track to fame, but that's due less to the show itself and more to its first-ever "social series" format. The "unlikely hero" premise isn't exactly groundbreaking, and the talented cast can't do enough to polish this unremarkable tale. But really, little of this matters when you look at what the series does have going for it: the novelty of a never-before-seen bridge between TV and the Internet that allows viewers to put themselves and their friends into the story itself. Intrigued? You're not alone, and chances are your teens and tweens are already one step ahead of you in trying out the new application via their Facebook profile page.

There's no denying the shtick works. It's hard to tear your eyes from the screen when you're waiting to see your own image staring back at you from a poster on the wall or a photo in a montage. It's like a high-tech game of "Where's Waldo?", and it's got definite repeat appeal for the masses, encouraging them to come back for more in each new episode. Although the format itself is optional and there don't appear to be any hard-and-fast privacy issues relating to this new technology since it's only accessing information that you and your friends have agreed to share with each other anyway, it does refresh concerns about the consequences of sharing personal information on the Internet and the longevity of the stuff you do share. After all, do you really want your snarky Facebook comments plastered across a graffiti wall in a TV series, even if it is for your -- or your friends' -- eyes only?

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about social networking. How do sites like Twitter and Facebook allow us to stay in better touch with people? Do you ever find that you rely more on this kind of interaction than you do on traditional communication? If so, does this change have repercussions?

  • Teens: How do you protect your safety online? Are there sites you don't visit because of safety issues? How much do you share with your friends in chat rooms or on social sites? Is it ever possible to erase something on the Internet? How can your online activities be tracked?

  • What do you think of this new video application? Will it be popular? Does it entice you to watch the show again? Do you think there are privacy concerns associated with it? Is it ethical to be able to access your friends' photos and use them in a manner such as this?

TV details

Cast:Aimee Teegarden, Jackson Rathbone, Johnny Pemberton
Network:Online
Genre:Action
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:Streaming

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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