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 Level Up is more age-appropriate for a younger audience than the original movie, thanks to the fact that there's less violence and more goofy humor surrounding the interactions between the characters and the video game cross-overs. Expect a fair amount of silliness as the teens pull out all the stops to keep the portal and its users a secret from the general public. The show doesn't set out to teach any lessons, but you can draw your kids' attention to the teens' efforts to relate to and work with each other despite their differences. The show paints a pretty unrealistic picture of teen life in general, but that's to be expected in a show so rooted in fantasy.
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What's the story?
The online gaming realm crosses over into the real world with unpredictable results in LEVEL UP, a comedy series inspired by the TV movie of the same name. Gamers Dante (Connor del Rio), Lyle (Jessie T. Usher), and Wyatt (Gaelan Connell) team up with their friend Angie (Aimee Carrero) to intercept the characters who cross over from their favorite MMO game, Conqueror of All Worlds, through a dimension portal. As if thwarting the game villains isn't hard enough, they also find themselves babysitting some of the less nefarious arrivals until they can send them back to their own dimension, which is no easy task when you're trying to keep up appearances as normal teens.
Is it any good?
Level Up picks up shortly after the conclusion of its movie predecessor, breaking right into the action with very little background on either the characters or the evolution of the portal itself. It won't take long for newcomers to get familiar with the basic plot points or the main cast, but it's a lot more fun if you're up to speed with both before the show starts.
If your kids are coming to the series by way of the movie, they'll find more of the same outrageous happenings in a place where barbarians, elves, and monsters of all shapes and sizes make an appearance. On the upside, the show focuses less on the clashes between the teens and the game cross-overs that marked the movie and more on the hilarious lengths to which the gamers have to go to keep the visitors under wraps, which means more laughs and less violence and opens it up to a younger crowd of kids.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about video games. What are some of your favorite game characters? How do video games allow you to step outside yourself and take on a new persona? Does playing video games ever change how you look at the real world?
Kids: What are your family's rules about screen time? What kinds of devices use screens? Why is it important to limit your time with them? Do you think they can influence your ability to relate to people and get along in the real world?
Which TV, movie, or book characters would you most like to meet if you could? What would you ask them? How do you think learning more about them might change how you feel about their stories?
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