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 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.
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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?
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.
Talk to your kids 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?
Themes & Topics
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