A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Focus of show is on rescuing animals in need of help and learning new things about science, like in episode when the Octonauts' fresh drinking water is threatened, inspiring a character to explain why they can't just drink ocean water. Viewers also learn specifics about animals and their habits.
Themes include courage, compassion, teamwork. As Captain Barnacles says (often), "It's our job to help all animals, wherever they are." Or, as the Octonauts' catchphrase goes, "Explore! Rescue! Protect!" Problems are solved with bravery as well as quick thinking, and everyone receives praise for what they can do.
Positive Role Models
Every team member has something to contribute to missions, and each contribution is treated with dignity and respect. The crew meet up with experts from many different disciplines; all are as focused on helping animals as Octonauts are. Each has lessons to impart about science and nature.
Voice cast is almost entirely White, and male characters get most of the lines and screen time, although female character Dashi is more prominent on this series than in the original.
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Violence & Scariness
Contains many stunts: One character grabs another in the nick of time before going over a waterfall. A huge wave threatens a ship. Danger is softened with music and lots of emphasis on bravery, as well as encouragement after the fact: "Great job, Octonauts!"
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No cursing but occasional mild insults, like when an animal taking off in Octonauts' helicopter is called "scurvy thief" and "scallywag."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Octonauts: Above and Beyond is an adventure show aimed at preschoolers and featuring the setup and characters of Octonauts, except that the crew rescues animals on land instead of in the sea. Courage, compassion, and teamwork figure largely in the Octonauts' adventures, and on each episode the gang meets a scientific expert who explains why animals are caught in a predicament and relates information about particular species. Every team member has a part to play in rescue missions, and each contribution is treated with respect. There's occasionally some insulting language when a character does something foolish ("scurvy thief!" "scallawag!"). Most of the main characters are male. There's some danger, like when a large wave threatens the Octopod, but menace is softened with music and visuals to an overall mild effect. Characters and other aspects of this show are based on a series of children's books, so if your kid is a fan, this could spark some reading sessions, too.
Is It Any Good?
Intrepid, brave, and always up for helping an animal in need of rescue, the Octonauts are as full of derring-do on land as they were in the ocean, and this spin-off echoes the original in every way. Already minted fans of the British children's show will be familiar with the show's setup: The Octonauts team heads out at the beginning of each episode on a mission (business or pleasure) before soon running into animals that need some sort of aid, along with an expert who can explain the science behind whatever predicament the animals are in. Someone hatches a plan, it's a crazy idea but it just might work, and then: It does!
The familiar rhythm and easy-to-hop hurdles, accompanied by very gentle suspense, are comforting to preschoolers, who absorb messages about concepts like droughts, wind, or volcanoes while they're carried along by the storyline. The puffy anthropomorphic animal characters are easy to love, too, especially the Vegimals, half-plant, half-animal creatures that speak in sweet unintelligible squeaks and vocalizations (that only one Octonaut can understand). Parents will also appreciate that the voice acting has a mellow, soothing cadence that won't grate on adults' nerves. For science lessons served with a side of super cute, Octonauts: Above & Beyond is worth a watch.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.