Speed Racer: The Next Generation

 
New take on old fave is OK for kids but listless.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The show is focused on auto racing, and many of the characters have a win-at-all-costs attitude. They're often willing to cheat or use dangerous maneuvers to win, even if they cause other drivers to crash (in fact, sometimes that's the goal). The characters attend a school for young racers, and the class alpha male is X, who relishes his role as the top driver and son of the legendary Speed Racer. X isn't thrilled to discover that the new student, Speed, is his long-lost brother who never knew his father's identity. X and Speed often butt heads, and X goes out of his way to make life difficult for Speed both on and off the track.

Violence & scariness

No fistfights or gun battles, but there are plenty of rough-and-tumble, almost-anything-goes road races with dangerous robot cars trying to take out other vehicles, virtual obstacle courses with very real hazards, and a lot of aggressive driving techniques aimed at causing crashes. That said, though there are frequent car accidents (many of which look very dangerous), actual injuries are very rare.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

Plenty of Speed Racer merchandise out there thanks to this series and the big-screen film.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this cartoon glamorizes auto racing and puts a heavy emphasis on winning. Characters take plenty of risky maneuvers on the track and play quite a few dirty tricks on each other, some of which seem very dangerous. But although there are many serious car accidents, there are few injuries -- the show seems to exist in a world where drivers are always able to walk away from a wreck. Speed has a difficult back story, which adds to his character's mystique, but the show offers few insights into why a parent would abandon his son at an orphanage.

What's the story?

As the new kid at the Racing Academy, Speed (voiced by Kurt Csolak) wants to prove himself the only way he knows how -- on the track. But he's got a rough road ahead of him. As an orphan, Speed arrives at the prestigious school with almost nothing to his name, not even a car, and quickly manages to run afoul of top student X (Robbie Sublett), son of the legendary Speed Racer. But Speed's own amazing skills behind the wheel prove that he has driving in his blood -- and, in fact, he soon discovers that he's Speed Racer's long-lost other son.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

SPEED RACER: THE NEXT GENERATION picks up the racing legend years after the original 1960s anime series, following young Speed's efforts to hone his skills and become a top driver, just like Dad. Only two things stand in his way: a shadowy billionaire who seems determined to wreck Speed's career before it really revs up, and X, who's less than thrilled to have a rival. Fortunately, Speed also finds a few allies, including whiz-kid mechanic Conor (Carter Jackson), strategist Lucy (Sahra Mellesse), and Headmaster Spritle (Peter Fernandez, who voiced Speed Racer in the original show), who, as Speed Racer's brother, is uncle to both Speed and X.

The original Speed Racer series, with its entertaining characters and one of television's most amazing vehicles, the Mach 5, has a justifiably cherished place in cartoon history. But this new entry in the franchise does little to advance the cause. The characters are thinly developed, the animation is clunky, and even the race sequences seem generic and lethargic. It just never seems to get up to full speed.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about winning and losing. Many characters seem willing to cheat in order to win, and the losers often complain loudly. Does anyone demonstrate good sportsmanship? Is cheating ever OK? Would you ever cheat to win an athletic event? How about on a test? Families can also talk about Speed and X's relationship. How would you feel if you suddenly discovered you had a sibling you never knew about? Would you welcome him or her into your family or feel resentful?

TV details

Cast:Kurt Csolak, Peter Fernandez, Robbie Sublett
Network:Nicktoons
Genre:Kids' Animation
Topics:Cars and trucks
TV rating:TV-Y7
Available on:DVD

This review of Speed Racer: The Next Generation was written by

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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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Teen, 15 years old Written byAkagami April 9, 2008
Adult Written byTimTheTVGuy October 30, 2012
age 8+
 

I agree with CSM on this one.

If it's still on Nicktoons,i'd be SO ANGRY.The animation looks HORRIBLE,the acting is ear reap,and it has pretty bad artwork.Plus,this show is just so.............boring! It's really pathetic! Can't wait to watch it soon (sarcasum) !
Teen, 16 years old Written byibarncat November 12, 2011
age 9+
 

Somewhat new take on old junk is OK for kids but is much better

This is a really good show. There are numerous things in it that make it better than the original, which I think sucks. Stan is the funniest comic relief character I've ever seen. The races are actually exciting. The three-part system of the show makes it have more continuity than it would have otherwise. It concentrates heavily on its science-fiction elements. And as enjoyable as Season 1 is, Season 2 is even better. It has more continuity, more violence, and more drama. In fact, Season 2 is the reason why I rated in on at 9. SPOILER ALERT: Halfway through Season 2, a school is blown up, X's and Annalise's cars are suddenly blown up, and a character who just joined their cause is apparently killed. This is a very good show that teens ought to like just as much if not better than kids, but young children may find it scary at times, especially in Season 2.

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