A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The show intends to entertain rather than to educate.
Leo, Zoe, and Ish forge a friendship over shared destiny as book's protectors. Doing so challenges each of them in new ways, requires that they contribute unique qualities to team's work. Strong themes of cooperation and self-control, particularly as it relates to learning powers and limitations of magic. Series features racially diverse cast and centers on step-siblings of newly blended family.
Positive Role Models
The protectors are single-minded in their determination to take seriously their responsibility, but they sometimes differ in how that will play out. Even so, when they work together, they cultivate the best in each other.
Violence & Scariness
No violence, but much intrigue surrounds mystery about origins of cookbook and Zoe's connection to some shadowy figures from the past. Few actual scares, but secrets are kept and answers revealed slowly.
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Products & Purchases
This series is a spin-off of Just Add Magic.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Just Add Magic: Mystery City is a spin-off of Just Add Magic and follows the events of a bridge episode called Just Add Magic: New Protectors. A magic cookbook presents itself to a new trio of tweens who must learn to use its recipes carefully to solve problems and to unravel the mysteries that follow in its wake. The story is rich in themes of teamwork and self-control as the tweens learn that even magic can have negative consequences and that often the easy solution isn't the best one. The characters must think critically about problems and work cooperatively to find answers, especially as the elusive mystery dictates their adventures through the city. This sharply written, family-friendly series features characters of diverse cultural backgrounds and centers on members of a recently blended family.
Is It Any Good?
The notable lack of iffy content, positive portrayal of family dynamics, and culturally diverse cast round out a truly wonderful and attractive series. Just Add Magic fans were left wondering what was next for the powerful cookbook after it moved on from Darbie, Kelly, and Hannah's hands, but this superb spin-off makes the wait worthwhile. Zoe, Leo, and Ish don't have instant chemistry, and so joining forces as the book's protectors takes extra effort and determination on all their parts. Alongside the tweens' often misguided efforts to fix things using magic (and then to fix the fixes themselves!) are some really likable examples of relationships that don't gloss over the inevitable bumps in the road. In particular, new step-siblings Zoe and Leo must learn how to live together in a blended family and work together effectively for the sake of their magical destinies.
Mystery City doesn't presume that viewers will know the background of the cookbook, its powers, and how it came to belong to Zoe, and so it's easy to get up to speed from the first episode. Like its parent series, this show boasts exceptional writing, well-crafted characters, and a curious storyline that reveals itself at the perfect pace to keep the interest of kids and adults alike.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.