A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Series incorporates geographical knowledge into plot in organic ways. In each new place, Carmen and her team arm themselves with information about topography, climate, people, cuisine, economy, relative location, and culture to move around easily and execute their mission.
Even though Carmen is labeled a thief, her intentions are altruistic and she works for the common good, which is implied forgivable in her case. She steals only so that V.I.L.E. operatives can't, and she always returns the items to their rightful owners. Good and evil generally are easy to discern, but some characters' identities remain a mystery for several episodes at least. In contradiction to her good intentions, V.I.L.E. thieves put their mission above everything else, including respect for the lives of others.
Positive Role Models
Carmen is smart, resourceful, determined to succeed on every mission, not for her own gain but to disrupt V.I.L.E.'s plans. Although she was trained as a thief, when faced with choice between right and wrong, she chose right and never looked back. She never shows defeat, always believes there's a way out of any predicament. She and her team use knowledge about different locations and cultures to their advantage to maintain safety and peace in each new place. Her teammates are savvy in different ways, but each is of great value to her work. Of course, none of this changes the fact that she does break laws to accomplish her goals, but it lends some justification to her intentions.
Violence & Scariness
Some hand-to-hand exchanges, including punching, kicking, use of weapons like staffs and electromagnetic pulse wands. In a few cases, it's suggested that the V.I.L.E. operatives will kill witnesses to protect their own identities. Accidents that would cause serious injury or death in real life -- such as falling from atop a building or jumping from a speeding truck -- don't have any ill effects for the characters. Some peril for Carmen and her friends in high-stakes missions.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
Inspired by the game villain of the same name and a previous TV series called Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego?.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Carmen Sandiego is a new take on the story of the infamous thief of 1990s games and TV fame. In this version, Carmen's still a thief, but she's more of a Robin Hood-style character, lifting items of historical and cultural value to prevent them being taken by V.I.L.E. operatives, then returning them to their rightful owners. This makes it easier to think of her as a hero and overlook how she goes about doing her job. Other than her thieving, Carmen is a fantastic role model: intelligent, altruistic, and willing to challenge authority to do the right thing. Expect some peril and many action sequences that show characters fighting, but no injuries to speak of. The show incorporates solid geographical and cultural information into its plot in creative ways and shows the characters using that knowledge to foil the bad guys' schemes.
Is It Any Good?
Everybody's favorite thief returns in grand fashion in this exhilarating series with a crack female lead and her arsenal of gadgets, perception, and ... geography? Carmen Sandiego refreshes the best of the former iterations of the red-clad character: She's smart, she's crafty, and she loves the thrill of the chase and the feel of clutching quarry from the hands of her adversaries. What's changed most is how much more we know about her now, and that just makes her all the more endearing. Instead of stealing artifacts for the V.I.L.E. organization, Carmen is the world's best defense against the group's schemes, and she's in league with detectives Zack and Ivy now instead of competing with them.
Carmen Sandiego never was a particularly threatening baddie, but the fact that she's adept at breaking and entering and an accomplished thief made her the obvious antagonist of her story. That's different now, and it's much more fun to root for her than against her. Also surprisingly fun is how this show incorporates solid geography lessons into each episode, introducing kids to basic facts about each new location on Carmen's travel list. Not only is this content good for viewers' sense of different places and cultures, it's also a reminder that knowledge can be an effective tool against the world's ills and one's enemies.
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.
Suggest an Update
Our Editors Recommend
Classic Cartoons Parents Love to Share with Kids
Geography Apps, Games, and Websites
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate