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 the main character of this tween-friendly fish-out-of-water drama has to overcome plenty of relatable challenges -- with a twist (like rescuing her history homework from a hungry elephant!). The show addresses real issues, from conservation to racism, with a serious but light touch.
What's the story?
In this interesting take on the "new kid on the block" scenario, teenage Scout (Anastasia Baranova) isn't just new to the neighborhood, but to the entire continent. Sent from New York City to South Africa to live with her mother and stepfather, who run a safari lodge, she's confronted daily with new situations and challenges, from the comic (an elephant eats her history notes) to the serious (a friend is embarrassed and angry when Scout shows up uninvited at her home in a poverty-stricken squatters' settlement).
Is it any good?
The show takes on weighty issues, but handles them with a deft touch so that viewers won't feel they're being preached at. For example, pieces of South African history are introduced as Scout struggles to prepare for an important test, and a friend helps her see parallels between the history of South Africa and the United States. Encounters with wildlife, like the dramatic rescue of an orphaned lion cub, add drama and excitement.
The conclusions to conflicts can sometimes feel treacly and a little too easy. Still, it's nice to see social issues addressed at an appropriate level for this age group -- and refreshing to find a children's TV series set somewhere other than the United States. The cast is multiracial, although the focus is primarily on the white characters. Scout herself is intelligent and likeable, if a bit bland. But the show's interesting setting makes up for that. If you have a half hour to spend, this show is a worthwhile investment.
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