Sonic Underground

Common Sense Media says

Surprisingly complex cartoon touches on tyranny vs. freedom.

Age(i)

2
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4
5
6
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8
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Educational value

The show mostly aims to entertain, but astute viewers may notice that the show underscores the value of fighting for a worthy cause and standing up against what you know to be wrong. The idea of government oppression and, alternately, the collective power of the masses to fight that oppression are common themes.  

Positive messages

Kids see a group of siblings set aside what makes them different and learn to work as a cohesive group toward a common goal. The process isn't always without calamity, but there's always a lesson to be taken from the experience. Their ultimate mission is to overthrow a tyrannical government system and free their neighbors from the leader's control. 

Positive role models

Sonic, Manic, and Sonia are devoted to their cause of freedom and strive to help people every chance they get. Others around them also sacrifice to resist the evil ruler's oppression. Dr. Robotnik, on the other hand, relies on intimidation and mind control to exert control over the population he's enslaved. 

Violence & scariness

Cartoon-style violence yields explosions, fires, and some impact, but there's little consequence from it. Slightly more concerning is the evil tyrant's unchecked power over the city's people, which means that people can be arrested and taken from their families for no obvious wrongdoing. Some of the characters have monster features such as claws and sharp teeth. 

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language

Rarely name-calling such as "stupid." 

Consumerism

The show is written around Sonic the Hedgehog, a video game character who also stars in two other animated series.  

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Sonic Underground's story line is separate from those of the other series starring the titular character, including The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog. In this case, Sonic works as part of a family team to overthrow the oppressive regime of the city's leader. Because he's not a solo act, he must learn along with his brother and sister how to combine their talents and work as a unit, which has positive messages about teamwork. Younger kids may not understand (and thus might be frightened by) the actions of the villain and his underlings, who flaunt their power over the general population by arresting dissenters and turning them into programmed robots. For those who can follow the complex story, though, the heroes' selfless devotion to the cause of freedom for their people has some positive qualities. 

Parents say

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Kids say

What's the story?

Years ago, the cruel Dr. Robotnik (voiced by Garry Chalk) seized control of Mobotropolis from its beloved ruler, Queen Aleena (Gail Webster). He promptly transformed the place into a wasteland and enslaved its people with threats of turning dissenters into robots under his control. Queen Aleena was forced to flee her home, separating her three youngsters -- Sonic (Sam Vincent), Manic (Tyley Ross), and Sonia (Stevie Vallance) -- and handing them over to strangers to raise out of sight of Dr. Robotnik and his armies. But a prophecy foretold that when the time was right, Aleena would reunite with her children, forming the Council of Four and working alongside the Freedom Fighters to take back control of the city. Thus begins the quest for Sonic, Manic, and Sonia to discover their collective powers and to search for their long-lost mother, who will lead them in their charge against the tyrannical Dr. Robotnik. At the same time, they combine their talents in their hot new rock band.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

For a kids' cartoon, SONIC UNDERGROUND has some surprisingly dark themes more commonly associated with dystopian fiction for the older set. Though the content never feels truly threatening and Dr. Robotnik's evildoing is offset by the quirky trio of heroes and their often-comical escapades, this is still a story about an enslaved people rising up against an oppressive tyrant and his powerful armies to safeguard their personal freedom. Kids who watch may have questions about the characters' actions and their motivations, but if yours are ready for it, this can start some thoughtful conversations about these issues.

Content-wise, there isn't a lot here that will surprise kids familiar with similar cartoons. Violence is more about flash than it is about packing an actual punch, and characters are rarely hurt in the action. Sonic and his siblings learn about teamwork the hard way, but the end result is a good one. And central to the story is the age-old struggle between good and evil that's not easily resolved. The bottom line? Sonic Underground has some good things to offer kids, but only if they're ready for the complexities of its story. 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the type of society portrayed in this show. Do individual freedoms exist? What are the penalties for exercising freedom? Does anyone benefit from such a setup?

  • Do you believe in destiny? In what ways do we decide our own fate? How might this ability be different in a dystopian society like the one in this show? 

  • Sonic, Manic, and Sonia show that sibling relationships aren't always easy. How do you resolve differences that arise in your family? Conversely, in what ways does your family serve as a source of strength for you? 

TV details

Cast:Sam Vincent, Garry Chalk, Tyley Ross
Network:Netflix
Genre:Kids' Animation
Topics:Brothers and sisters
TV rating:TV-Y7
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of Sonic Underground was written by

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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Quality

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, okay 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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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 15 years old Written byWRESTLING246 October 8, 2014
AGE
2
QUALITY
 

I love this show

Sonic Underground is amazing, cool and awesome it has cool music and It features Knuckles The Echidna, Sonic's Sister and Brother A.K.A Sonia and Manic
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models

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