Mystery Lab

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Mystery Lab TV Poster Image
Solid science behind Brazilian show makes up for campy vibe.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Viewers see how scientific concepts help explain the facts and theories about mysterious and notable events as well as modern marvels. The characters often work as a team to develop theories and apply them to the questions they have about the subject matter.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Castanhari and Dr. Tay are skilled and knowledgeable, and they can apply the sciences to questions in an effort to answer them. Betinho exists more for comic relief, though he does fill the role of a sounding board for his friends’ theories.

Violence

Depending on the subject matter, some episodes involve graphic images -- both illustrated and photographic -- of dead and decaying bodies, bloody murder scenes, gun use, and other violent content. Other episodes relate to violence within other species as well, as when insects fall victim to fungus that turns them into zombies, for instance. Even without visual aids, the host’s description of disasters that result in death are thorough enough for a clear mental picture.

Sex
Language

Rarely "hell" and "sucks."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Mystery Lab is a Brazilian educational series airing on Netflix with English subtitles. It's framed as a scripted sometimes-comedy show in which the cast teaches viewers the science behind events like the Great Plague and modern marvels like artificial intelligence. The show deals in real-world scenarios that push the boundaries of normal, and it doesn’t shy away from the showing or the telling in full detail. Often it uses illustrations and animation to represent very gory or graphic images, such as zombies with body parts falling off, people dying of disease, or murder scenes spattered with blood. Expect occasional weapon use (a police officer draws a gun on a man, for instance) and partial nudity (a drawing of a man’s naked backside is shown), plus mild language like "hell" and "sucks."

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What's the story?

In MYSTERY LAB, host Felipe Castanhari explains the science behind some of the world’s most notorious puzzlers, notable events, impressive advances. Working from his lab and on location, Castanhari delves deep into the nuts and bolts of the day’s hot topic, looking at common theories before making a case for the story the facts tell. Often he’s joined by his colleague Dr. Tay (Lilian Regina), his friend Betinho (Bruno Miranda), and the resident supercomputer, Briggs (voiced by Guilherme Briggs), as he digs into what sense science can make of these puzzles.

Is it any good?

For all of the campiness in this series (and there’s a lot), the actual learning content is clear, concise, and presented exceptionally well. Castanhari alternates between talking directly to viewers and chatting it up with his coworkers -- Dr. Tay, the brilliant scientist; and Betinho, the resident over-reactor and asker of sophomoric questions. And when an even more practical explanation is required, Briggs is there to weigh in on the subject as well. The result is some occasionally corny acting but a wealth of really interesting and thorough scientific analyses of curious topics. 

Mystery Lab’s selectivity in subject matter goes far in enticing viewers as well. Rather than tackling vague and voluminous content topics like evolution or natural disasters, the show teaches those subjects as they relate to less dry, more enticing ones like a zombie apocalypse. It’s this big-picture method of teaching that pairs well with the informal scripted structure of the characters' interactions. This bodes well for the show’s teen viewers' interest level and keeps things a little more within the grasp of lay adult viewers as well.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the science behind Mystery Lab. Is the show informative in an educational way? Did you learn something new by watching? Did it raise other questions for you? What reliable resources can you turn to if you want to learn more? 

  • How important is it that the media aim to educate along with entertaining? Does it have a responsibility to screen content for accuracy or age-appropriate content? Why or why not? 

  • Series like this one cater to curious viewers. Are the topics of particular interest to you? What subjects most pique your curiosity? What value is there in being curious? 

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love mysteries

Themes & Topics

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