A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Kids will learn some social lessons about things like honesty and overcoming fear.
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.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A developing crush between Bravestarr and J.B. leads to some flirting and a couple of brief kisses.
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Rare name-calling like "dipswitch."
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Products & Purchases
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.
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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.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.