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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Ride is a series most suitable for tweens, with strong themes of friendship, diversity, respect, and self-confidence. It centers on an American teen who moves to England with her father to attend the elite boarding school where he will be teaching. Cultural differences between her and her new British classmates make for some comical moments. There's some tension when she stands up to the school's strict headmistress, but as teen rebellion goes, it's fairly mild. Expect some teen flirting, mean-girl antics, and other drama typical to this age group but also sweeping scenery courtesy of the show's U.K. setting.
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What's the story?
In RIDE, Kit Bridges (Kendra Leigh Timmins) and her father, Rudy (Mike Shara), make a new start in a new country, relocating from the United States to the English countryside after the death of Kit's mother. Kit is excited about the adventures awaiting her there, but she finds the stringent rules of the Covington Academy a little too rigid for her liking, which quickly puts her at odds with its headmistress, Lady Covington (Sara Botsford). And then there's the small matter of her reluctance around horses in a school where riding is fundamental to the curriculum. But things start looking up when she makes a fast friend in her new roommate, Anya (Rameet Rauli), and an unlikely kindred spirit in the stable's most headstrong resident, TK.
Is it any good?
Effective dramedy isn't an easy mark to hit for the tricky tween set, but this series does a good job unfolding a compelling story around a diverse cast of characters. Kit's spunk, Elaine's (Alana Boden) haughtiness, Anya's enthusiasm, Will's (Oliver Dench) bad-boy reputation -- it all adds up to familiar predicaments for kids who tune in to watch, and the lessons learned in each case always emphasize positive relationships and teen behavior. Even the power struggles between Kit and Lady Covington are very mild as teen rebellion goes, playing out in matters of, for instance, dress code infractions and standing one's ground on a debatable rule.
Ride is also a pleasant series to watch, filmed in the Irish countryside on the grounds of a majestic castle-turned-boarding-school and featuring many riding scenes. There also are elements of British culture seen through the eyes of Kit, who's fresh from across the pond and not at all schooled in the finer matters of English life. With its culturally diverse cast and emphasis on the value of embracing differences, Ride is an excellent series for tweens.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how change encourages personal growth, the way it does for Kit in Ride. Kids: Is the idea of change exciting to you, or does it make you nervous? Can you recall a time when a change in your life had a positive effect on you?
Kit stands up for what she believes even when it gets her into trouble. Could you do the same if you felt passionate about an issue? What consequences would you be willing to accept for your stance?
How do different cultures blend within the cast of this show? Are there instances in which they clash? Why is it important to respect cultural and racial diversity?
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