A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this show sometimes seems like a promotional campaign for the military. Jake, who starts off working as a tech support worker for a security agency, pines for a transfer to where the real action takes place. When he's assigned to repair an ops center computer during a big terrorist-takedown mission, the message is clear: being a spy is cool (especially when the show only mentions the exciting parts, and only the bad guys get hurt). It's warfare without the pain and suffering. Still, this is a pretty tame show that's mostly unobjectionable for sci-fi-loving tweens and young teens.
What's the story?
In JAKE 2.0, tech support worker Jake Foley (Christopher Gorham) is accidentally infested by a batch of experimental nanites -- microscopic machines -- that give him super strength and the ability to control electronic circuits mentally (which he uses to hack into computers and send text messages with his mind). Once upgraded, Jake is quickly promoted from his job as a National Security Agency tech-support lackey to a field agent, where he starts serving his country as a super spy. But even though Jake has some interesting new abilities, he's still a bit of a geek -- super-strong, yes, but still awkward around women and sometimes lacking in good judgment.
Is it any good?
Jake Foley is one of a long line of TV heroes who -- through an improbable combination of radioactivity, chemicals, explosions, or other mishaps -- end up developing superpowers and invariably put their newfound talents to work fighting crime. But part of what sets Jake 2.0 apart from other series in the genre, which tend to center on handsome, suave, capable heroes, is that Jake keeps his geeky side despite his superpowers. This contradiction makes Jake seem more human and more believable, but it can also make Jake 2.0 seem a bit silly. Sure, it's part of the convention for the good guy to go down at least once before emerging triumphant, but viewers usually like to see a bit more smarts in their heroes.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the media portrays the military. Can you think of movies and TV shows that are clearly pro- or anti-military? Whose agenda are those films and shows promoting? What about this show? What messages is it sending about the military? Does the sci-fi context impact that message at all? Families can also discuss what it might be like to live with superpowers. What would you do if you suddenly acquired special abilities? Do you think most people would use such powers to help the world? Or would they use their gifts for selfish purposes, like trying to get rich?
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