By Emily Ashby,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Popular book series makes for chilling thrills for tweens.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
A newcomer finds his niche in an established community thanks to fast friends and common interests. When mysteries arise, Adam and his friends use rational problem-solving and science to get to the bottom of them. The series has fun with the idea that supernatural forces are at play in an otherwise ordinary town, often disguising paranormal creatures as humans whose real identities go unnoticed in the community. One character's true intentions are suspect throughout the series, making it hard to determine whether she's friend or foe.
Positive Role Models
Adam, Sally, and Watch are undaunted by others' skepticism about Spooksville's creepy happenings, and they're methodical in their collection and analysis of evidence to prove something's up. Adults take a mostly background role in the show, with the prominent exception being the lurking, sinister presence of Moorpark.
Violence & Scariness
The show is filled with scary noises, monsters of various shapes and sizes, and surprises that will make you -– and the characters –- jump. In some cases, there are injuries (a teen gets hit by a car, for instance), but they're short-lived.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A budding teen crush is mostly one-sided, but there's no physical angle to it.
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Products & Purchases
The show is inspired by a book series by Christopher Pike.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Spooksville is based on the premise that supernatural forces are at play in an otherwise normal town, so if your kids are susceptible to worries about monsters under the bed and aliens in the sky, it's probably not for them. Much of what's considered "scary" about the content lies in the suggestion of the unknown rather than in monstrous forms themselves, but when these do make an appearance, the show's quality special effects give them real pizzazz. There's also the issue of a main character's uncertain motives, and the potentially threatening presence of her devoted ally. Potential scares aside, this is a fun spine-tingler with intriguing characters, a solid friendship, and just enough mystery to entice tweens' continued interest.
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Videos and Photos
Based on 2 parent reviews
The best show ever
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What's the Story?
After his mother's disappearance, Adam (Keean Johnson) and his dad move to Springville, a tiny town that they hope will give them a fresh start. But right from the beginning, Adam senses that everything is not as it seems in sleepy "Spooksville." His suspicions are quickly confirmed by his new friends, Watch (Nick Purcha) and Sally (Katie Douglas), who spin him a tale about a centuries-old curse handed down by Madeline Templeton (Kimberly Sustad), an accused witch put to death in the town more than 300 years ago. Now, her beautiful modern-day descendant Ann (Morgan Taylor) is a mysterious presence in Adam's life, much to Sally's chagrin, and the influence of her lurking chauffeur, Moorpark (Peter Bryant), does nothing to assuage Sally's suspicions about Ann's true intentions. As time passes, all signs point to Adam being the key to unraveling the clues behind Springville's very strange occurrences.
Is It Any Good?
SPOOKSVILLE is further evidence that popular book series can successfully navigate the leap to TV. Much like the well-known TV adaptation of the Goosebumps collection, Spooksville turns author Christopher Pike's creations into enticing visual entertainment, aided in no small part by quality special effects that put real emphasis on the stories' paranormal creations. As opposed to Goosebumps, though, Spooksville chronicles a continued story, making it even more essential to tweens that they watch every episode to stay current on the characters' findings. Happily this is such a fun watch, you might find yourself falling into its web with your kids.
Of course, the downside to the show's multilayered mysteries and excellent visual quality is its scares are easily believed, so take care in deciding whether your kids are ready for it. It's never a sure bet what kind of creature or presence the characters will encounter next, plus there's the whole supernatural-beings-masquerading-as-people angle that might be worrisome for some. But, for tweens who like their thrills, Spooksville is sure to fit the bill.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about why scary stories are so appealing. Tweens: Do you like to be scared by movies or TV? Is this series scary to you? What kinds of frightful content are you most sensitive to?
Tweens: Do you believe in the supernatural? This series implies the validity of magical curses and otherworldly creatures. Is there any evidence that supports this? Does a lack of evidence necessarily disprove it?
Have you read the Spooksville book series? If so, how did you like this TV adaptation? What challenges exist in fitting book characters to the screen? Which of your favorite books do you think would make good shows or movies?
- Premiere date: October 26, 2013
- Cast: Katie Douglas, Keean Johnson, Nick Purcha
- Network: Discovery Family Channel
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Book Characters, Friendship, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires, Space and Aliens
- TV rating: TV-PG
- Last updated: October 14, 2022
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