Bravestarr

 
'80s cartoon is dated, but messages ring true with kids.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids will learn some social lessons about things like honesty and overcoming fear.

Positive messages

Each story illustrates an important social lesson like being honest or overcoming fear. At the show’s end, the characters speak directly to viewers to point out examples of the lesson in the story and to describe why it’s important to adhere to these values. Characters suffer realistic consequences to immoral actions.

Positive role models

Bravestarr is a model citizen who aims to keep the peace with minimal violence. Rather than resorting to weapons, he taps into his inner strengths (speed, senses, strength) to overtake the villains, and he’s never ashamed to ask for guidance from his Shaman. J.B. has high principles and is a good complement to Bravestarr’s selfless dedication to preserving peace. The show casts women in strong roles, its multi-cultural characters
include Native Americans and African Americans, and it does a good job
of avoiding negative stereotypes associated with minorities. That said,
it does fall victim to some language-based stereotyping ("Howdy,
partner," "out yonder," etc.) of the Texans.

Violence & scariness

Weapons use is common, and the characters’ arsenal includes laser guns, laser lassos, energy bolts, cannons, and, in the case of the villains, the ability to control nature (dirt, creatures, etc.) to attack their enemies. Bravestarr has weapons at his disposal, but he usually relies on his super powers (speed, strength, senses) to outwit his enemies rather than hurting them. Occasionally a main character dies, but mostly death is implied rather than shown. 

Sexy stuff

A developing crush between Bravestarr and J.B. leads to some flirting and a couple of brief kisses.

Language

Rare name-calling like "dipswitch."

Consumerism

During its original run in the late ‘80s, the show inspired a line of action figures and video games.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

A regular character’s smoking habit causes angst among his friends, who ask him to quit. One story centers on a boy’s use of a hallucinogen, which eventually leads to his death.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this series makes a concerted effort to illustrate important social lessons (honesty, overcoming fear, etc.) throughout each story, after which the characters reiterate the theme directly to viewers and encourage kids to relate it to their own lives. Violence is the main sticking point here, as most of the skirmishes between good guys and bad involve weapons (guns, laser tools, etc.) and some result in implied death. The good news is that as far as violence goes, Bravestarr is an admirable hero who relies on his inner strengths like speed and super senses to get the job done. He’s also a Native American, and the series invites some aspects of his heritage (the use of a Shaman for spiritual guidance, for example) throughout the stories.

Kids say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's the story?

In the 23rd century, a distant planet called New Texas is found to be rich in a valuable mineral called Kerium, causing and influx of intergalactic hoodlums bent on mining and stealing the supply. Enter Bravestarr (voiced by Pat Fraley), an intergalactic marshall taxed with keeping the peace and bringing the bad guys to justice. With daily onslaughts from outsiders and a constant barrage from a local gang, led by the mutant Tex Hex (Charlie Adler), Bravestarr relies on his informal supporting cast -- including his anthropomorphic horse Thirty Thirty (Ed Gilbert), the lovely J.B. (Susan Blu), and a local named Deputy Fuzz (Adler again) -- to help him wrangle the villains.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

For an action cartoon, BRAVESTARR offers kids a surprising dose of positive content. What’s more, the show doesn’t make you dig for its messages; it weaves the stories around them and then reviews how the characters’ actions exemplified responsible behavior. In addition, Bravestarr’s Native American heritage plays a big role in his characterization, and the fact that he turns to a Shaman for spiritual guidance and taps into inner strengths rather than using weapons to do his job has good messages for kids.

Despite Bravestarr’s aversion to violence, the rest of the characters do wield weapons, so the show is a good choice for older kids who can separate reality from fantasy. That said, this cartoon has a decidedly ‘80s appearance to it that might make it a hard sell for kids who have grown up in the modern era of CGI and anime. If they’re willing to overlook the cheesiness of some of the characters and simplicity of the animation style, kids will find enjoyable stories with messages that may just make an impact on them.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the lessons the characters learn in this show. What was today’s theme? How does this message relate to being a responsible person? Can you think of times in your life when you’ve struggled with this issue? How did you resolve it? What did you learn?

  • Kids: Do you like this show’s style? Why or why not? How does it differ from the cartoons you’re used to watching? Did the fact that it is an older cartoon affect your enjoyment of the story?

  • How does the media influence our perceptions of other cultures? Are stereotypes always bad? Do you think this show uses stereotypes? If so, where? Do you think Bravestarr is a good representative of the Native American culture? 

TV details

Cast:Charles Adler, Ed Gilbert, Pat Fraley
Network:Syndicated
Genre:Kids' Animation
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Space and aliens
TV rating:TV-Y7
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of Bravestarr was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

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.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Adult Written bydechavez October 30, 2011
age 17+
 

this is the worst SHOW EVER

i don't get it. In the intro the horse is like a man and shoots a gun. also they show things kids shouldn't be seeing and way to many drugs.also before when the horse can stand and talk it looks like he is being struck by lightning. so i'm going to have to rate this one star even though it is worse than that. the bad guy looks like the joker and the grim reaper combined.

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass