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 Peter Parker (aka Spider-Man) is college-aged in Spider-Man: The New Animated Series, a spinoff of the hit big-screen movie. He dates, kisses, and even allows a woman to sleep over at his apartment (speaking of which, most of the female characters have exaggerated figures, often with exposed flesh or generous bosoms). Spidey's battle against evil results in lots of cartoon violence, including villains wielding gigantic guns and regular near-death experiences, though all of the scenes are bloodless. Some scenes show Peter and his friends drinking cocktails.
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What's the story?
Peter Parker (voiced by Neil Patrick Harris) moves into the digital age in SPIDER-MAN: THE NEW ANIMATED SERIES. Instead of taking photos for a newspaper, he shoots video for a TV station. And instead of being carefully drawn in pen and ink, he and his friends are brightly (if flatly) rendered in CGI. But Peter hasn't changed too much. He still pines for Mary Jane (Lisa Loeb), and, though he's a bit hipper than in the old days, he still has his shy, self-deprecating appeal. Here, Peter is both attending college and fighting for those in need as his superhero alter ego. He manages to get into all sorts of dangerous predicaments, but he uses his Spidey-sense to stay ahead of his enemies. Whether investigating an apparent attack on the city's mayor by sexy villain Silver Sable or a kidnapping by a group of high-tech terrorists, Spider-Man always manages to win his battles.
Is it any good?
The show's half-hour episodes don't delve too deeply into Peter's darker side, and most references to his family and his past are left out. What's left is a flashy superhero cartoon interested mostly in terrific battles and unrequited love.
Fighting evil makes for some tense situations, and Spider-Man: The New Animated Series is packed with last-minute saves and death-defying leaps. These, mixed with sexy villains with big guns, make the show a better pick for older tweens. Plus, Peter isn't in high school anymore, so kissing and even co-ed sleepovers happen every once in a while. His best friend Harry (Ian Ziering) tosses out the occasional sexual innuendo, and Mary Jane has developed into a quite a flirt.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence. What kind of violence is featured in Spider-Man: The New Animated Series? What would the effects of that kind of violence be if it weren't a cartoon? Kids: Does watching fighting in a cartoon ever make you feel more energetic or hyper? What do you think that means?
Families can also compare the show to the Tobey Maguire movies. Which do you like better? Why?
Themes & Topics
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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