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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Fast Layne is a miniseries about a tween girl and her mysterious connection to a talking, self-driving car. The story has prominent messages about adapting to change, being a good friend, and working as a team, but kids will more easily notice and enjoy its humor, impressive car tricks, and high-speed chases. Layne and her friends operate without much adult supervision, so some of their adventures with VIN (whose self-propulsion lets them "drive" him) are questionable by real-world standards, but it's clear throughout that this story is fantastical. Some characters' motivations are uncertain at times, and two villains pursue Layne in an effort to capture VIN.
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What's the story?
In FAST LAYNE, 12-year-old Layne's (Sophie Pollono) precise and methodical life is disrupted by the chance discovery of a futuristic talking car named VIN (voiced by Nate Torrence) and his inexplicable connection to her. Along with her spunky neighbor, Zora (Sofia Rosinsky), Layne sets out to learn where VIN came from, why some bad guys are determined to get their hands on him, and what all of this has to do with her. As the mystery unfolds, Layne, Zora, and Layne's gearhead classmate Cody (Brandon Rossel) work together to find answers, outsmart VIN's would-be captors, and avoid the prying eyes of Layne's younger cousin, Mel, who knows they're up to something.
Is it any good?
This funny, fast-paced series is a breath of fresh air with its pairing of a four-wheeled protagonist and his (gasp!) female counterpart. Layne doesn't start out the story as a car enthusiast by any means, and she's hesitant to acknowledge any connection to VIN in the beginning, but it doesn't take long for the two to develop a rapport that involves Layne feeling protective of him. They make an odd but endearing team as they execute their mission.
Fast Layne boasts a likably multidimensional character in Layne, who begins the story in full control of her orderly and aspirational life but finds that forces beyond her control can cause detours that must be dealt with. With the help of her friends, she adjusts her expectations, thereby opening herself to new experiences that challenge her beliefs and force her to learn important lessons about teamwork. With humor, appealing relationships, and some pretty cool car tricks, this series has a lot to offer kids who watch.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Layne's goals and aspirations change over the course of the story. Do her adventures with VIN overshadow what her goals were at the beginning of the show? Is that a bad thing or a good thing? Kids: Do you adjust easily to change, or is it difficult for you? What kinds of tactics can make change easier to accept?
How does Fast Layne prolong a sense of mystery? Are all the characters who seem like villains proven to be so, or does time change how you see their intent? What does this say about making quick judgments about people in general?
How do Layne's high expectations for herself help in her experiences with VIN? Why doesn't she just turn him over to the people who want him and get back to her own life? What role does her sense of loyalty play in the story? What other character strengths do you notice in this series? How does teamwork play a role?
- Premiere date: February 15, 2019
- Cast: Sofia Rosinsky, Sophie Pollono, Brandon Rossel
- Network: Disney Channel
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Cars and Trucks, Magic and Fantasy, Friendship
- Character Strengths: Teamwork
- TV rating: TV-G
- Available on: Streaming
- Award: Common Sense Seal
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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