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 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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
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
- Available on: Streaming
- Last updated: March 13, 2020
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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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