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Dragons: Rescue Riders
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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Dragons: Rescue Riders is a Netflix series that's part of the How to Train Your Dragon franchise and is geared toward young kids. There's still some action and very mild peril that necessitates the human and dragon rescuers to do their thing, but the content is not scary, and the dragons are friendly and kind right from the start. The stories involve recurring themes about cooperation, helpfulness, and community, and the main characters -- two orphaned siblings -- learn the value of feeling at home among other people. Expect some scheming and plotting by the town's resident baddie (who's more comical than he is actually evil), but always heartwarming messages about extending kindness and working together.
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What's the story?
DRAGONS: RESCUE RIDERS introduces orphan twins Dak (voiced by Nicolas Cantu) and Leyla (Brennley Brown), who were adopted and raised by dragons as babies and so can talk with and understand the creatures. Now older and on their own, the siblings team up with their dragon friends -- Burple (Noah Kaye Bentley), Winger (Zach Callison), Summer (Skai Jackson), and Cutter (Andre Robinson) -- to rescue other dragons in need. But when a fateful rescue earns them a new friend in Chief Duggard (Carlos Alazraqui), he invites the group back to his home village of Huttsgalor, where the townsfolk urge them to stay, giving Dak and Leyla the home they've long wanted.
Is it any good?
This sweet series brings a tamer, less intimidating dragon cast and action to a younger crowd than was ready for some of what the How to Train Your Dragon franchise offered previously. These dragons are altogether adorable and friendly and their persistent helpfulness endears them to everyone who gets to know them. Likewise there's very little friction among the people characters in the show, with stories focusing more on accidental trouble and subsequent rescues than on anything truly nefarious.
One factor that can be distracting to Dragons: Rescue Riders' otherwise smooth presentation is the matter of talking dragons whom only Dak and Leyla can understand. In scenes with additional characters around, it may be a bit confusing for young kids to hear the dragons speak for themselves and then be interpreted for the sake of the non-dragon-speaking people around. Overall the series does well to keep these instances to a minimum, but kids may wonder why it's happening some times and not others.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Dak, Leyla, and their dragon friends go from being misfits to truly belonging in Huttsgalor. How do they work to make the transition a good one? What steps do the townsfolk take to help? Kids: When have you been a newcomer? Who helped you adjust?
In what ways does Dragons: Rescue Riders encourage you to think outside the box about what defines a family? Who would Dak and Leyla count among their family members even though they aren't biologically related?
What examples of teamwork and cooperation stand out in the characters' actions? In what ways is Dak a good role model? Leyla? How do they learn to take influence from others around them and use it in positive ways?
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