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Contraptus

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Contraptus TV Poster Image
Lively series features STEM principles, fantasy violence.

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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Educational Value

Presents basic STEM principles that are used to solve a variety of problems. 

Positive Messages

Science and engineering can help solve any problem if you work at it. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Dr. Contraptus is smart, and wants to solve problems with science. However, he exploits the loyal Basile to do it. 

Violence & Scariness

Mishaps include dynamite sticks going off and blowing up the house, falls from several stories, getting shot into the air, burned, etc. There’s yelps of pain, but no one really gets hurt. 

Sexy Stuff

There's some attraction to young women in the village, but nothing overtly sexual. 

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Contraptus is an animated series that uses humor to introduce kids to basic STEM principles. Originally from Belgium but dubbed into English, it also teaches problem-solving skills. There’s some goofy fantasy violence that is reminiscent of some Tom & Jerry and Bugs Bunny/Road Runner cartoons, including big dynamite explosions (that destroy an entire house), and a character consistently falling from high places and being blown out chimneys and other spaces, but no one really gets hurt as a result. 

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What's the story?

Based on the Belgian comic book series Léonard (a character based on Leonardo DaVinci), CONTRAPTUS is an animated series about a self-proclaimed scientist who enjoys testing his crazy ideas. Dr. Contraptus believes that he's a genius, and dedicates his time to inventing contraptions designed to solve problems. The issues he tackles can be a little unusual, for example, a machine teaching him how to dance, or another that helps defend his house from thieves. His loyal but lazy sidekick Basile is tasked with helping his master test all the inventions, regardless of whether or not they may cause him some pain. There are a lot of mishaps along the way, but Dr. Contraptus never gives up on coming up with new and creative ideas. At the end of each episode, an informative one-minute breakdown of the concepts explored is presented. 

Is it any good?

This lively maker-themed cartoon mixes humor with lots of creative thinking and building in order to problem solve. Each roughly 10-minute episode features a conflict or problem of some sort that Dr. Contraptus wants to resolve using scientific research and engineering principles. Despite being set in the Renaissance, much of what he builds, like vehicles, television-like screens, and robots, reflect today’s technology. Granted, not everything works the way he expects it to, but Dr. Contraptus’ willingness to refine his ideas and his machines underscores the process by which great inventions are created. Contraptus does have its fair share of fantasy violence that may not be appropriate for younger viewers. Nonetheless, it offers a fun and colorful way to teach kids basic STEM principles. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about STEM. What exactly is it? Is it important for all children to learn it? 

  • Contraptus is about a character based on Leonardo DaVinci. What is DaVinci famous for? Do you think he was anything like Dr. Contraptus? 

  • Even though this series offers a lot of interesting lessons, does the fantasy violence it contains make it less educational? Would there be less violence if it were a cartoon made in the U.S.?

TV details

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