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K-9

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
K-9 TV Poster Image
Doctor Who spin-off is worry-free fun for tweens.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The show raises the concepts of extraterrestrial life, time travel, and mind control in the context of a far-fetched fantasy story line. Enemies exist both far and near, and it's not always easy to know whom to trust. Different personalities collide, sometimes causing sparks. A man copes with the sadness of having lost his wife and child and with the effects of agoraphobia.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Some teen rebellion, often caused by the characters' unwavering sense of right and wrong. The professor copes with some emotional struggles caused by grief, so he's not a reliable role model. 

Violence

Explosions, and K-9 shoots laser beams from his eyes. Some aliens can be frightening in appearance, and they're usually a menacing group. Mild peril.  

Sex
Language

Rarely name-calling, such as "doofus."   

Consumerism

K-9 is a spin-off of the Doctor Who series, so fans may want to backtrack to learn the character's history.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that K-9 is a British/Australian sci-fi-comedy series inspired by the robotic dog from Doctor Who. It's set a few decades in the future and follows a group of humans who work with the regenerated robo-dog to protect humanity from a series of alien invaders and the unfriendly policies of the governing establishment. The content is mostly benign, but kids may be frightened by the costumed aliens and the implications of concepts such as mind control, time portals, and alien abduction. In addition, some of the human characters are villains masquerading as good guys. As such, this show is a good fit for tweens and young teens, and it works well as a stand-alone pick or as a follow-up to the Doctor Who stories that inspired it. 

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What's the story?

K-9 follows the continuing adventures of the robotic dog of Doctor Who fame, who falls through a time portal and winds up in the futuristic laboratory of Professor Gryffen (Robert Moloney) by way of a space-time manipulator he's repairing. But when the machine malfunctions, it also opens the door for some unwelcome aliens, who target a teen named Starkey (Keegan Joyce) until K-9 (voiced by John Leeson) steps in to defend him, exploding in the process. Fortunately Starkey is able to help K-9 regenerate, and the revamped robo-dog becomes the constant companion of Professor Gryffen; Gryffen's assistant, Darius (Daniel Webber); Starkey; and his sharp-tongued friend, Jorgie (Philippa Coulthard). The team combats a constant stream of otherworldly visitors and the overbearing regulations of the governing body, the Department. 

Is it any good?

Even if you're not a Doctor Who fan going into this series, K-9 is a fun blend of sci-fi, comedy, and adventure that's easy to follow from the beginning. The story makes some references to K-9's past escapades -- particularly with regard to the professor's efforts to return K-9 to his place of origin -- but that's merely a complement to the development of this show's own characters and plot.

K-9's mostly clean content reflects the needs of its intended audience of tweens; older viewers will find that the humor and the costumed aliens veer toward the juvenile. At the same time, younger kids might be frightened at the implications of combative alien races who use mind control and physical force to overtake humanity. Also at play is a domineering government agency against which the heroes rebel throughout the show. The bottom line? This fun sci-fi series will entertain your tweens and might just raise some issues you can talk about with them afterward.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the definition of good and evil. Who gets to decide whether an action is right or wrong? Can the terms be subjective, or are there definitive criteria for them? When people's definitions differ, how can the issue be resolved?

  • To what extent does the sci-fi genre lay the groundwork for scientific advancements? Of the futuristic concepts in this show, is it feasible to think they could become realities? How would things like time travel affect us? 

  • Do you believe in extraterrestrial life? Will we ever know the answer for certain? What evidence exists to support the idea? To combat it?

TV details

Themes & Topics

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