Baxter

 
Upbeat Canadian comedy is squeaky-clean fun for tweens.

What parents need to know

Educational value

The show intends to entertain rather than to educate.

Positive messages

The show’s themes include friendship, self-acceptance, perseverance, and respecting differences. Its portrayal of teen life is heavily sanitized, but it does make an effort to show the characters working through mild real-life issues like insecurity, competition, and rebellion. Some stereotyping exists among the characters (the drama queen, the outsider, etc.) but it’s never used to ostracize. Some potty humor, including references to farting.

Positive role models

Baxter forgoes instant fame by keeping his famous father’s identity a secret, showing that he wants to be judged on his character and talent rather than on his dad’s success. The teens are devoted to their arts and strive to be the best.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff

Budding teen relationships are sweet and mostly innocent, though the characters do little to disguise their feelings and flirt heavily.

Language

No cursing, but there’s some name-calling like “doofus” and “ditz.”

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that there’s nothing worrisome in this fun Canadian comedy series for tweens. Its setting in a school for performing arts invites plenty of impromptu singing, dancing, and dramatic recitations, so viewers never know what’s around the corner. Baxter’s efforts to make a name for himself independent of his father’s fame have good messages for youngsters about perseverance and personal responsibility. The show greatly sanitizes teens’ lives, but overall, it’s a source of good, clean comedy for tweens.

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What's the story?

BAXTER is a Canadian comedy series about a group of students at the prestigious (but fictitious) Northern Star School of the Arts. The series starts with the arrival of new student and aspiring singer Baxter McNab (Evan Williams), whose efforts to keep the fact that his dad is the school’s most famous alum under wraps are complicated by his friend Emma’s (Holly Deveaux) desire to let the cat out of the bag. It isn’t easy to find your niche among the likes of TV star Jenna (Tara Joshi), film entrepreneur Jackal (Dewshane Williams), and drama king Marcus (Kyle Mac), but Baxter can count on Emma, as well as fellow newcomers Tassie (Brittany Bristow) and Deven (Shannon Kook-Chun), to help him make his way.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

This show’s premise might remind some parents of the ‘80s hit Fame, but Baxter is pretty sanitized compared to that classic. The toughest issues these teens cope with are overcoming stage fright and emerging from a famous parent’s shadow, so there’s not a lot of substantial content to be drawn from the stories.

Of course, that alone isn’t reason to exclude the show from your tweens’ options. The vibrant characters and innocuous comedy are fun, as are the impromptu song-and-dance routines that are commonplace at a school for wannabe performers. What’s more, there are some sweet messages about self-esteem, perseverance, and friendship, as well, and the glaring absence of any iffy content, so time spent with these characters certainly isn’t a waste for tweens.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about ambition. What life goals do you have? Do you know what career you might like? What skills and education will you need to do the job? What rewards do you anticipate?

  • Tweens: What did you think of this show’s portrayal of high school? Did any of it ring true with you? Do you think it gave an accurate impression of the issues with which teens cope? What aspects seemed exaggerated? How does its comical nature influence how it presents real-life issues? 

  • What are some of your favorite American shows? Are there any noticeable differences between those and this Canadian one? If so, what? Do you think American series accurately represent our society? Are there any misconceptions that other cultures could draw from our TV series?

This review of Baxter was written by

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall 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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