A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this show deals with aliens, the supernatural, and other strange, unexplained phenomena that young viewers may have questions about (and some may even be scared of). But the creepy subject matter is usually surrounded with enough silliness that it's not disturbing. The series is mostly action and goofy fun, with very little substance and no serious messages or moral lessons.
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What's the story?
In Nicktoons' animated adventure series MARTIN MYSTERY, Martin (voiced by Samuel Vincent) and his stepsister Diana (Kelly Sheridan) are 16-year-olds who work for The Center, a secret organization which protects Earth from extraterrestrial and supernatural threats, such as giant prehistoric insects, evil entities, or strange creatures that leave trails of green or purple slime. After getting an assignment from stern leader M.O.M., Martin and Diana are transported to the site of the current mystery. Aiding them in their missions are Java, a 200,000-year-old caveman provides much-need muscle to fight tough adversaries; and M.O.M.'s tiny alien assistant, Billy, who gives them valuable information. For extra protection and defense, Martin wears a wrist device that can summon an array of high-tech gadgets.
Is it any good?
The series' subject matter and Martin's goofy, immature character immediately call to mind Scooby-Doo and its lovable doofus, Shaggy. But Martin is a bit gutsier than Shaggy and, unfortunately, is more irritating than lovable at times. The characters aren't as developed as they are in Scooby, but the show is still reasonably entertaining with its silly humor and creepy, imaginative mysteries that rival those of The X-Files but are not as disturbing. Martin and Diana's working relationship even resembles that of Files' detective duo Mulder and Scully.
The show's anime style definitely keeps viewers on their toes, even if it's a bit distracting and distances you from the action. There's no deep moral message, just fast-paced adventure and mildly scary fun combined with everyday, lightweight issues that high schoolers face -- a mix that will no doubt appeal to tweens and teens. And for kids who, like Martin, are intrigued by green or purple goop, well, there's plenty of that to go around.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the mystery in each episode and what kind of creature or phenomenon was involved. How did Martin and Diana handle the situation? Do you think this kind of situation could happen in real life? How would you handle it, assuming you didn't have any special powers, weapons, or gadgets? Another discussion topic could be Martin's immature behavior at school versus his behavior on assignment. What do you think of his boyish pranks? Why does Diana get so frustrated with him? How does his irresponsible behavior compare with the way he handles himself on missions?
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