Nils Holgersson

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Nils Holgersson TV Poster Image
Tiny hero's adventures teach him to see new perspectives.

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We think this TV show stands out for:

A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

The show intends to entertain rather than to educate.

Positive Messages

Kids see Nils seize an unexpected opportunity to see life from a different perspective. He's not eager to learn lessons from the experience, but it does change his thinking to some degree and makes him more compassionate toward others. He also has a positive effect on some of his new friends, encouraging them to be more courageous. Still there are some moments in which his impulsive and rebellious nature causes problems. Strong themes of friendship that bridges differences.

 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Nils is resourceful, brave, and a strong leader, but he doesn't always take advantage of the lessons he learns by making mistakes. His animal friends are kind, selfless, and willing to forgive his frequent missteps. Martin learns to trust himself and others by stepping out of his comfort zone.

 

Violence & Scariness

Mild peril, as when farm animals are threatened by a fox or when a character is chased by a predator. No lasting fright or injury.

 

Sexy Stuff

A character daydreams about one of his female companions.

 

Language

Rarely "stupid."

Consumerism

The show is inspired by books by Selma Lagerlof.

 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Nils Holgersson is a CGI series inspired by the classic book character. Based on the books by Swedish author Selma Lagerlof, the story goes that Nils, a somewhat naughty son of a farming couple, shirks his duties and inspires an elf to shrink him down to tiny size, at which point he and his goose buddy take to the skies for new adventures. Befriending a whole flock of geese, Nils learns compassion for others, but he never really gives up his mischievous ways. He does demonstrate courage and strong leadership, which helps the group immensely, and he embraces new adventures with a willing spirit. Expect some mild peril in altercations with predators and other sticky situations, but no lasting injury.

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What's the story?

NILS HOLGERSSON follows the adventures of a young boy whose life changes forever when an elf turns him into a tiny human and he sets off with his new goose friend, Martin, and a flock of friends. Rebellious Nils discovers the world looks a lot different when you're mere inches from the ground, but setting a course for the horizon offers endless possibilities. Alongside their new friends Akka, Soft Feather, Gorgo, Pretty Wing, and Golden Eye, Nils and Martin embark on the adventures of their lives.

Is it any good?

A classic Swedish literary character comes to life in this beautifully animated CGI series about an imperfect hero. Nils isn't your typical altruistic central figure; he's impish, feisty, and resistant to the advice of his elders, whether they be human or bird. Sometimes his actions and reactions cause more trouble than they solve, but even then he demonstrates solid leadership and courage, which works to the benefit of his friends.

Nils Holgersson is lovely to watch, and kids will enjoy the conglomerate of personalities among the flock into which Nils and Martin adopt. Strong messages about friendship, compassion, and being open to new experiences stand out in the stories. There's also a sense of fantasy and new perspective that comes of Nils's magical transformation. While he's not a traditional hero in the sense that many animated characters are, the fact that Nils is relatable because of his flaws has some merit.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Nils evolves as his story does. How does experiencing life from a different perspective change how he feels about helping others and extending kindness? How are we shaped by our experiences and surroundings?

  • What other literary characters do you enjoy seeing transfer to the screen? Are there others besides Nils Holgersson you'd like to see made into movies or TV shows?

  • What are some of Nils's best and worst qualities? Does the good outweigh the bad with him? Do you find this is true in your real-life relationships, too? What kind of behavior are you willing to forgive in your friends?

TV details

Character Strengths

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Themes & Topics

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For kids who love classic characters

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