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 Stakes is an eight-part miniseries focusing on Marceline the Vampire Queen, a character from the series Adventure Time. Though the tone is light, the series centers on rather morbid topics such as death, immortality, curses, spirits, and the like. One character frequently discusses a wish to have her life end after centuries; younger viewers may be disturbed by the focus on death. Many (goofy-looking, not scary) vampires are killed on-screen; though there's no blood or gore, scenes take place in a dark and scary forest with a large, shadowy monster. One character in particular (the Vampire King) is shown in a big, menacing form that may scare young kids. An offscreen nuclear war destroys the world the show is set in; characters are abandoned repeatedly by parent-like figures and cry piteously. Overall, the subject matter is too mature for very young kids, but tweens and teens who love Adventure Time will be happy to find out more about Marceline's history.
- Parents say
- Kids say
Adventure time Characters + Over the Garden wall movie/chapter book style + remarkable depth = AMAZING!!
What's the story?
Based on the world and characters of the animated series Adventure Time, eight-part miniseries STAKES centers on Marceline the Vampire Queen (Olivia Olson) as she struggles with her past and identity. Tired of the eternal life her vampire nature has given her, Marceline attempts to become human again with the help of science and Princess Bubblegum (Hynden Walch). But the process has an unexpected side effect: The powers she absorbed from her five greatest foes causes them to return to fearsome life. Now with the help of Princess Bubblegum, Finn (Jeremy Shada), and his brother/dog Jake (John DiMaggio), Marceline must slay these "ghosts" from her past to live happily in the present.
Is it any good?
Visually psychedelic, thematically mature, and filled with arresting characters in unusual situations, this miniseries is something special for tweens and up but too dark for younger kids. On Adventure Time, Marceline was an impish frenemy to Finn and Jake and a minor character good for a few sassy lines -- who knew this tragedy of a life was hidden beneath her cheeky vibe? The eight-part Stakes picks up after the apocalyptic Great Mushroom War, which sets the stage for a series of abandonments that render Marceline a solitary, sad, yet powerful figure.
The five vampires who return after Marceline chooses to become human again are clear metaphors for the sorrows of her past; her fight to lay them to rest is a heroine's quest with powerful allegorical meaning. Though this miniseries is too dark (and a bit depressing, despite the occasional burst of absurdity) for younger viewers, tweens, teens, and even adults will relate to her struggle. This is great family watching (especially for moms and daughters) for animation fans.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Marceline's plight: eternal life that has her abandoned over and over again by mortals. Would you like to live forever? Why, or why not?
What characters from Adventure Time appear in Stakes? Which don't? Why do you think they were chosen to play a role?
Why do you think Stakes is a miniseries instead of a story arc on Adventure Time?