Dream Defenders

TV review by
Natascha Crandall, Common Sense Media
Dream Defenders TV Poster Image
Heroic kids fight crime within dreams (it's no Inception).

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value
Positive Messages

While the characters do work together to defeat the nightmares, they do so by fighting them and not by strategy or using teamwork. The bullying throughout the episodes also makes any positive messages of teamwork less memorable

Positive Role Models & Representations

While Zane is very confident, he comes off as having an ego more than being confident. Zooey does stand up for herself, but she also puts her brother down and laughs when he makes mistakes. 

Violence & Scariness

The characters use fighting to defeat the villains and the nightmares. Sometimes this involves kicking them, sometimes it involves an electric shock. In every episode, both Zane and Zooey release something from their special suits which is designed to fly up and blast their enemy. 

Sexy Stuff
Language

There are no curse words in this show, but phrases like "get a room" when two characters fall over was used. They also used phrases like "I'll kill him" and "total loser."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Dream Defenders is an animated series for older kids who are able to handle the concept of living within a dream or nightmare (kind of an intense premise!). It doesn't always model positive character traits and the teamwork that is represented is overshadowed by the negative comments that the main characters make towards one another. 

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What's the story?

DREAM DEFENDERS Zane and Zoey, 14-year-old twins, can travel into the Dreamworlds -- the realm where humans dream, through a supercomputer. Evil characters in the Dreamworlds create nightmare monsters that turn people in the human world into Dreamwalkers, hypnotic versions of the humans who do bad stuff. Zane and Zoey work to defeat the monsters in the Dreamworld to keep their lives under control.

Is it any good?

This series is very scary as most of the episodes take place in one’s nightmares. In one episode, the kids aren't only being chased by scary clowns, but the clowns are trying to bite them. They defeat the clown by kicking it in the face and then electrocuting it, which doesn't set the greatest example. In addition to this intense premise, characters often “prank” others, but it's more like bullying as the person being “pranked” is often left feeling very upset and never finds it funny. Zooey is often frustrated by her brother and exclaims “I’ll kill him!” when she thinks about the times that he “pranked” her.

While Zane and Zooey are a team and do work together to defeat the evil characters, there are too many negative behaviors being modeled in Dream Defenders -- there are better choices for kids looking for adventure.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how they handle having bad dreams. How do you know dreams aren't real? Why do brains create dreams? 

  • Kids: What could Zane and Zooey do differently to help one another in Dream Defenders? How do you think Zooey feels when Zane says something mean to her or plays a prank on her? What should Zooey say to Zane to get him to understand how he makes her feel?

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