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 cartoon is intricately tied to (and designed to promote) the Chaotic Trading Card Game. The show's characters play a similar multimedia game using laptops and other high-tech gadgets. Some players are able to transform into the game characters and are transported to battle sites to engage in physical one-on-one and team battles, all of which may be frightening to the youngest viewers. Cartoon violence is prevalent, but much of it is exchanged at a distance -- like hurling fireballs at an enemy -- and it rarely results in lasting injury. There's little questionable material here (aside from the violence), but the show doesn't have many positive messages, either. The show's second season airs under the title Chaotic M'arillion Invasion.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Best friends Tom and Caz share a passion for the latest craze to hit their school: the online game Chaotic. For Tom, playing the game is just for fun. But when Caz starts talking about transporting to the real world of Chaotic and taking part in actual battles, Tom thinks his buddy has been spending a little too much time in cyberspace. It's only when Tom's laptop flashes a strange code from Chaotic that his friend insists is a secret password that he starts to wonder if his own grip on reality is slipping, too. Just to prove Caz wrong, Tom logs on with the so-called password and enjoys a fleeting moment of vindication when nothing happens. But then, to his surprise, he suddenly finds himself standing in a Chaotic arena, surrounded by other players on their way to real-life duels. With Caz's help, Tom clocks in for his first match, stacks his deck of team members against his opponent's, and gets another shock when he transforms into his chosen warrior and is dropped into the battle location. With a jolt, Tom realizes that it will take smarts and his character's individual strengths to somehow escape his seasoned enemy.
Is it any good?
CHAOTIC is brimming with tween-friendly touches -- including techie gadgets, cyber-talk, realistic interpersonal relationships, and fantasy that's a cut above that of the typical kid cartoon. Although the battle scenes are, of course, marked by violence -- which rules this one out for the littlest viewers -- it's mostly innocuous, and no one ever suffers lasting injury. In fact, the battle scenes also offer viewers a step-by-step guidebook to the game's strategic moves, often including characters' explanations of why they opted for a certain warrior's strengths and how they were influenced by their opponent's team choices and the battle's location. Far from being tedious, this thought process actually encourages viewers to see the game strategically and -- who knows? -- it might even make them think as they watch.
Of course, it might also have them champing at the bit to play the real-life multimedia Chaotic Trading Card Game, to which Chaotic is intricately tied. That marketing relationship means that Chaotic could become a commercial juggernaut, so watch out.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about competition and strategy. Kids, where do you compete with your peers? At sports? In classes? How can competition be good for people?
What problems can competition cause? Why is it important to be a
What types of strategy do you use to get ready to
compete? Have you ever had to change your strategy during a
competition? When and how?
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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.
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