Lost in the West

TV review by
Jenny Nixon, Common Sense Media
Lost in the West TV Poster Image
Time-traveling teens create a ruckus in the Old West.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Designed to entertain, not educate.

Positive Messages

Characters band together to try to do what's right. Intelligence is valued, and an emphasis is placed on doing the right thing even when it's hard.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The main characters, who are stepbrothers, value their relationship and work together to try to help their family and friends. The main female characters are portrayed as smart and tough.

Violence & Scariness

There are some fight scenes between the groups, but the choreography is so bad and unrealistic it isn't scary for even a moment. One of the characters throws a dodgeball at his enemy's head. A cowgirl shows her frustration with one of the time travelers by punching him in the gut, more than once.

Sexy Stuff

A couple of tame kisses, nothing more.

Language

Unless you consider fart jokes to be bad language (one of the ranches is named the "Hoof Hearted" ranch), this is a very clean production.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Though the characters visit a stereotypical Old West saloon, none of the patrons imbibe -- it's strictly sarsaparilla sodas for this crew.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Lost in the West is a lighthearted and silly miniseries about time-traveling teenagers who visit the Old West. Older teens may roll their eyes at the highly sanitized way high school and teenage life is depicted, but younger kids will likely find it a treat. There's a classic Good Guys versus Bad Guys storyline, but unlike what you see in a lot of old-school Westerns, some of the most helpful and competent characters here are female. There are some fight scenes, which are mild and cartoonishly choreographed, and a couple of very chaste kisses exchanged.

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What's the story?

In LOST IN THE WEST, stepbrothers Dave (Niko Guardado) and Chip (Caleb Thomas) are typical teenagers, looking forward to the Homecoming Dance and working on school science projects. One of those projects, Chip's high-endurance smartphone battery invention, has an unexpected side effect: It works as a time machine. The duo are bewildered to find themselves transported back to 1885, and they are soon mixed up with the locals and their attempt to stave off the land-grabbing machinations of their evil mayor, Doc Duvalier (Marc Schardan). This being a time travel story, Chip and Dave's misadventures in the past have long-range implications for the future, so they're forced to make a few more trips to set things right -- enlisting the help of their modern-day friend Lisa (Fallon Smythe), a bookish history buff, and their 1885-era pal Texas Jane (Morgan Higgins), a cranky cowgirl.

Is it any good?

Plotwise, the miniseries borrows heavily from 1980s classics Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure and Back to the Future, but the cornball humor and stiff performances keep it from reaching the same comedic heights as those well-loved classics. The tone is incredibly cheesy, even for a series aimed at kids, and the jokes can be really repetitive. Dave, who is portrayed as the goofy airhead of the duo, is shown using the anachronistic slang word "awesome sauce" a good half-dozen times while hanging out among confused 1885-era townsfolk. We get it, guys.

On the plus side, they avoid the "damsel in distress" trope by showing the female characters to be among the smartest and most capable members of the group -- even if some take that strength a little too far at times, like the punch-happy Texas Jane. Older teens are likely to dismiss Lost in the West and its lack of grit, but younger kids may be drawn to the empowered characters, colorful backdrops, and silly jokes.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the time travel aspect of Lost in the West. If you could go back in time, would you be tempted to try to change certain things? What kind of an effect might that have?

  • Do you think the series' depiction of life in the Old West is accurate? How do you imagine a real circa-1885 cowboy might react to seeing a pair of modern-day teenagers appear out of thin air?

  • Did the characters in this series seem like real teenagers? Why or why not?

TV details

For kids who love buddy comedies

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