Dragons: Riders of Berk

Common Sense Media says

Movie-inspired show has strong relationships, role models.

Age(i)

2
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5
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8
9
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Educational value

There's some value to the show's kid-friendly take of life long ago, but most of what's positive about the show is wrapped up in the characters' relationships with each other. 

Positive messages

Dragons: Riders of Berk is grounded in messages about strong family relationships and friendships, and the characters draw strength from these to cope with the daily ups and downs of life. The kids are the real heroes here, and the stories celebrate how their willingness to think outside the box has led to a new, peaceful era for the Vikings. There are also some sweet messages about the bonds between humans and animals (or, in this case, dragons) that will have special meaning for families with furry friends of their own.

Positive role models

Hiccup and his friends demonstrate that courage comes in many different forms and that heroes can be found in unlikely places. They're also compassionate toward the dragons and find the sentiment returned in surprising ways. Astrid is a well-rounded model for girls, proving that her inner character shines even brighter than her looks.

Violence & scariness

Some of the dragons are pretty scary to look at, especially when they bare their teeth or breathe fire, but the series' key dragon characters are friendly toward the humans rather than at war with them. Perilous scenarios and plot cliffhangers briefly give viewers reason to worry about the characters' well-being, but things usually work out in the end. There's some slapping, falling, and trampling in some of the scenes, but everyone escapes without serious injury.

Sexy stuff

Hiccup and Astrid have feelings for each other, but there's little more than nervous flirting between them. 

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

The series follows a popular feature-length film and is inspired by a book series by Cressida Cowell. There's also an accompanying product line of kids' accessories, video games, and toys.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Dragons: Riders of Berk is a TV follow-up to the popular DreamWorks movie How to Train Your Dragon. If you (and they) liked the movie's quirky characters and strong messages about self-confidence and courage, there's plenty more where that came from here, plus bonus lessons in identifying your talents, getting along with others, and opening lines of communication with parents. Hiccup and Astrid are fantastic role models who don't mind standing out from the crowd, and their willingness to stand by their convictions proves to be the difference for their village's survival. Expect some fantasy violence, most of which relates to the dragons' ability to breathe fire, and some scary scenes because of the dragons themselves. But since most of the dragons in the show are friendly from the get-go, the potentially frightening stuff has less impact here than it did in the movie.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

DRAGONS: RIDERS OF BERK is the continuing story of Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel) and the Vikings of the island of Berk, where a newfound peace with the dragons has changed the face of the village and the lives of its inhabitants. Here Vikings and dragons work and play together, and the job of training the creatures falls to young Hiccup and his pals Astrid (America Ferrera), Fishlegs (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), Ruffnut (Julie Marcus), Tuffnut (T.J. Miller), and Snotlout (Zack Pearlman). The trouble is, it seems there are far more dragons out there than the Vikings ever imagined, and training all of them will take a massive team effort. Plus, even with a ceasefire in place, there are other threats to all of Berk's residents, and it's only through cooperation between the two groups that peace will win the day.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

This engaging series is a worthy successor to DreamWorks' well-received How to Train Your Dragon, and it's every bit as enjoyable on the small screen. All of the main characters return, bringing with them some complex relationships that are explored in more depth over the course of the series. In the case of Hiccup and his father, Stoick (Nolan North), this means viewers get to see them make further strides in seeing past their differences to find common ground -- and a new respect for each other. For Hiccup and Astrid, it translates to plenty more awkward instances of affection and a halting crush that reflects the uncertainty of relationships between tweens.

If you're used to seeing Toothless, Hiccup, and the rest of the cast in the movie's impressive 3-D format, then Dragons: Riders of Berk's flat animation might be a bit of a letdown, but happily the quality writing and lovely Nordic scenery will more than compensate. Plus, the promise of new characters -- both human and dragon -- should be enough to maintain kids' interest. As with the movie, it's worth taking a look first if your little kids are sensitive to scary creatures or perilous scenes, but for older kids, this is a terrific series centered on an unlikely hero who makes a name for himself by daring to be different.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what makes Hiccup unique. Does he mind being different from the rest of the Vikings? How do his unique qualities become an asset to his village? How do they compensate for what sets him apart from most of the others?

  • Kids: Where do you notice strong relationships in this story? How do the characters communicate in a way that improves their relationships? How do the characters communicate with the dragons?

  • Why are there so few female characters in this series? Is Astrid a positive female role model? What do you think are her strongest qualities? How does her character differ from girls and women in other series you've seen?

This review of Dragons: Riders of Berk was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 6 year old Written bymadsmooney1214 September 18, 2012
AGE
5
QUALITY
 

dragons riders of berk

rest of the Vikings? How do his unique qualities become an asset to his village? How do they compensate for what sets him apart from most of the others? Kids: Where do you notice strong relationships in this story? How do the characters communicate in a way that improves their relationships? How do the characters communicate with the dragons? Why are there so few female characters in this series? Is Astrid a positive female role model? What do you think are her strongest qualities? How does her character differ from girls and women in other series you've seen?
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much consumerism
Adult Written byJEDI micah September 4, 2012
AGE
8
QUALITY
 

An absolute "MUST WATCH" for fans of the movie!!!

I just watched the series premiere right before I made this review, and I loved it! I think it'll be better than The Penguins of Madagascar and Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness! The show is just like the movie except there's going to be new dragons! The show also has positive role models and positive messages for kids! The animation is actually not that bad compared to the movie! I think this show is awesome and I hope it continues to be that way!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much consumerism
Kid, 9 years old September 9, 2012
AGE
3
QUALITY
 

SO AWESOME

epik. reason i said educational is cuz you can learn alot about dragons
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models

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