Phil of the Future

Common Sense Media says

Harmless, cliché-ridden young teen misadventures.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

Phil's younger sister is a mean, selfish, manipulative bratty kid, and her behavior is played for laughs, though she generally is "taught a lesson" by the end of each episode. The entire population of the show is white.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff

There is talk of dating and relationships from both teens and adults, but nothing beyond the crush stage.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that although this series aims to teach viewers about good behavior and respecting others, its hackneyed situations and endless cheesy sound effects get in the way of anything meaningful. The futuristic elements are so poorly tacked on to the stories that they seem irrelevant. And Phil's sister is so nasty, rude, and antagonistic that it makes the show nearly unwatchable. All in all, the show is harmless but unpleasant.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

A family from the future is trapped in the suburban present in this rehash of just about every teen show you've ever seen. Although Phil (Ricky Ullman) and his family have access to various futuristic gadgets (a brain switcher, an age transformer). The teen and his friends experience the ups and downs of their age group. For example, in one episode Phil gets a crush on the popular girl at school and has to learn about being himself, and in another story, Phil's best friend Keely (Alyson Michalka) uses the aging machine to see what she'll be like at 25 and has to learn about being herself. Predictably, Phil's sister Pim (Amy Bruckner) is a cute kid who is a complete brat and mean to everyone.

Is it any good?


Though the series attempts to impart a few life lessons, the situations are so clichhd and the settings so overly familiar that you can predict everything that's going to happen and everyone's reaction to it long before it occurs, and so the "lesson learned" impact fizzles out. And in case you weren't sure which parts are supposed to be funny, a barrage of sound effects is constantly going off during each episode, adding a cartoonish element that does nothing to enhance the viewing experience. There are far, far better ways to spend half an hour than watching this show.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about whether the lessons the show is trying to teach are derailed by Phil's sister's behavior. Can you look past her nastiness to see what the message is supposed to be? Is what she does funny or just mean? How would you deal with a sibling who acts like she does?

TV details

Cast:Alyson Michalka, Amy Bruckner, Ricky Ullman
Networks:Disney Channel, Disney XD
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Friendship
TV rating:TV-Y7
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of Phil of the Future was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Written byAnonymous May 28, 2010

Wait a minute...WHAT???!!!

2 STARS????!!!!! REALLY???? THIS WAS MY FAVORITE SHOW! Now it is gone and is almost never rerun. What makes it deserve a 2 stars? Just because every major character is white does not mean anything. What about Wizards of Waverly Place? Not one character is African American and no messages problems were there. The show is great. Phil Diffy is a great role model, and Keely and Phil show how a great friendship can happen, even between people from two very different places/times.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Adult Written bygoldfishee27 April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
Adult Written byMidnightCresent June 22, 2010

It was so cool! Bring it back! I double dare you to bring it back!

This was one of my favorite shows of all time! I liked the new gagets and plots, they always have a new twist. And I like hearing about those 'future' stories the parents tell. I cant hate any of the characters, they all have something to love. They usually learn a lesson at the end of the show, and it was not a sitcom! (Hallaluya music plays) sometimes their acting is a little off, but not nearly as bad as the suite life on deck acting. I'm getting it on DVD because knowing the 'new Disney' they wont bring it back. If they did, I wouldn't mind watching replays! And they actually go outside in this show, they don't use a green screen! Its all real neat, and Phil and Keely really dedicate themselves to their friendship even though they have a crush on eachother, they dont act sappy all the time, they act like great friends.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Educator Written bycaffinegirl85 October 7, 2011

yet another great show that had to be taken off the air no fair!!!

I very much loved this cute show i now have the dvd Phil of The Future Gidgets and Gazmos which gives u 4 cool eposodes its so not fair that this show had to be taken off the air i say no fair! just like other great shows like Drake And Josh Lizzie Mcguire All That why take such cool shows off the air ? i mean Phil Of The Future was such a cool show and i think it helped us all knowing anout the future yet another great show that had to be taken off the air i say no fair!
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models


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