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 NFL Rush Zone is heavily laden in advertising for the National Football League, its teams, and its star players, some of whom lend their voices to animated versions of themselves. The characters wear team jerseys and hang team posters in their rooms, they visit various stadiums to thwart villains who break in, and star players like John Harbaugh and Drew Brees lend their likenesses and their voices to the cast. What's more, each episode also includes a lengthy highlight reel for each player guest, contributing the commercial-like feel of the NFL-sponsored show. Expect some cartoon violence (blasters, robot dismemberment, sound wave manipulation, etc.) in clashes between the robot villains and the young heroes, with no ill effects on the teens' side. Each episode also touts positive character traits like responsibility and consideration of others' feelings.
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What's the story?
NFL RUSH ZONE is an animated series about Ish (voiced by Malachi Cohen), a football fan who's endowed with the special powers of a guardian and tasked with protecting items sacred to the NFL and its teams. The first season centered on Ish's efforts to safeguard team shards from a villain named Sudden Death; the second saw an older Ish team up with new guardians to stop Wild Card (Troy Baker) from claiming power sources called Megacores from each of the NFL's stadiums. Joining Ish are Marty (Andy Aragon), Troy (Johnny Bosch), Tua (Ogie Banks), and a former adversary, Ash (Nika Futterman). Together these teens are the first line of defense between the Megacores and Wild Card's diabolical scheme to control them.
Is it any good?
NFL Rush Zone is a joint project between the NFL and Nickelodeon, a pairing unexpected enough that it begs questions about the purpose behind it and the products it manufactures. The show is geared toward kids, some of whom may already know their way around a football game and a favorite NFL team, but plenty others of whom probably don't. If NFL and Nickelodeon have anything to do with it, though, that will change, and the show will inspire not so much an affection for the game as a burning desire to lay claim to the colorful brand logos on parade throughout the series.
Of course, kids who are already fans of the league and its teams will really enjoy how the show incorporates its guest stars, and the good news is that they play a big role in illustrating some worthwhile messages about relationships and personal responsibility. But the real kicker? The show devotes too much time to pushing the NFL brand that the actual storyline gets lost in the shuffle.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the media influences our buying and viewing habits. Kids: Are you more inclined to watch the NFL after seeing this show? What products do you see promoted in commercials? How do they make them seem desirable?
Kids: How would you define a hero? Which people in your life are your role models? What characteristics do you particularly admire in them?
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